News

    AIDS Funding Boosts Overall Healthcare

    Donald S. Shepard, Ph.D., is Professor at the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy at the Heller School, Brandeis University.
    Donald S. Shepard, Ph.D., is Professor at the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy at the Heller School, Brandeis University.
    Joe DeCapua

    The battle against HIV/AIDS has received more donor funding than most other diseases combined. Many tens of billions of dollars has been spent in the more than 30 years of the epidemic. The amount of funding has raised concerns among some that attention is being taken away from other killer diseases. Now, a new study says that’s not the case.

    The 6 year study took place at health clinics in Rwanda.

    Dr. Donald Shepard of Brandeis University, lead author, said, “There’d been a lot of speculation on both sides: The negative side that it drew attention, resources away -- and conversely on a positive side that it could help the health system more generally. And so we thought that an empirical study could help throw light on this.”

    He said Rwanda offered an opportunity to settle the debate.

    “The AIDS program was in the process of being rolled out to many health facilities. So that it made it possible to do this controlled study of looking at facilities that already had AIDS services and other facilities that were similar but didn’t. To try to see in that country at least what the actual impact had been,” he said.

    Reaching a conclusion

    Researchers focused on how those clinics performed.

    “There were two teams of researchers that visited each of the health centers in the study. We developed a questionnaire that compiled data about – what in lingo is termed – inputs and outputs into each of the health centers. The inputs were the staff that they had drugs and other items that they received and the outputs were a series of services that they produced, particularly in terms of visits and vaccinations and other types of services by health facility by year,” he said.

    The findings were published in the May edition of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. They refuted claims that efforts against other diseases were being harmed by the large amount of funding for HIV/AIDS.

    “We concluded,” said Shepard, “that there was no evidence at all of the adverse effect that some researchers had feared and speculated about – and some evidence that indeed that there were positive spinoffs.”

    The study said one of the positive spinoffs was that health centers offering AIDS services “provided better preventive care than those that did not, including superior delivery of childhood vaccinations.”

    Integration

    Shepard added that “Rwanda’s progress against HIV/AIDS has not come at the expense of addressing other health needs.”

    “Rwanda has had a very deliberate policy of integrating AIDS services into its healthcare system. So while from a donors’ viewpoint AIDS has separate mechanisms – in Rwanda’s case the Global Fund and PEPFAR – within the country itself it had made a very conscious effort of trying to integrate AIDS into the healthcare system and has helped to strengthen the healthcare system more generally in Rwanda,” he said.

    The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief provide much of the funding for treatment, care, prevention and research.

    Researchers said further evidence that AIDS funding can boost overall healthcare in a country can be found in an Ethiopian study. Following an increase in AIDS spending, Ethiopia saw a decline nationwide in mortality rates while immunization rates rose and “pre-natal care improved.”

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora