News / Africa

Obama Criticized Over AIDS Funding

Joe DeCapua

The head of the Global AIDS Alliance has sharply criticized President Obama, saying Mr. Obama has failed to meet his funding promises for HIV/AIDS.

Paul Zeitz says President Obama is not nearly as involved in the issue as his predecessors George Bush or Bill Clinton.  The State Department’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator strongly rejects the charges, calling them inaccurate.

Zeitz says, “Unfortunately, the Obama administration has not kept its word in terms of the AIDS response, globally, and particularly in Africa.  President Obama made commitments during the [presidential] campaign to increase spending on global AIDS that he has not matched with his action.”

Zeitz says he and others have been “dialoguing with the administration and encouraging them to review their policies.  And we’re hopeful they may do that.  But at this point they seem to be very much off track.”

Economic crisis

He rejects arguments that the global economic crisis should affect the amount of money allocated to HIV/AIDS.

“My view is that President Obama gave his word that he would provide a billion dollars per year of increased spending on global AIDS.  He committed to doubling foreign aid, including aid to Africa.  That’s about a $25 billion increase,” says Zeitz.

The Global AIDS Alliance head goes on to criticize Mr. Obama, saying, “He has no integrity because he’s not kept those promises because of the financial crisis being the excuse.”

Zeitz says Mr. Obama managed to come up with “a trillion dollars for the Wall Street bankers in about 30 days.  We’re asking for a small amount of money compared to what he has been able to generate when he actually took the time to work on it.”

Zeitz says most of the discussions with the administration are lower level, unlike those with the Bush and Clinton administrations, which saw direct presidential involvement.

“President Bush himself and his inner circle were working on the [President’s] Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief [PEPFAR],” he says.

“[This] administration is focused on the three Ds – defense, diplomacy and development.  And they’re just not implementing their development initiative hardly at all,” he says.

Administration response

A State Department spokesperson says, “First, in a very tight fiscal environment, President Obama requested increases for PEPFAR in both the fiscal year 2010 and 2011 budgets, and $63 billion over six years for the Global Health Initiative, of which PEPFAR is the cornerstone.”

The spokesperson adds, “Second, the administration has not only released a comprehensive document outlining the Global Health Initiative, with specific targets for preventing maternal-child HIV transmissions, but also a comprehensive PEPFAR five-year strategy.”

In addressing the levels of funding, the spokesperson says, “What matters is not dollars, but what we are doing to save lives and improve the quality of life of millions of people now suffering from preventable and treatable diseases…  That is what presents the most promise to prevent HIV/AIDS transmissions, treat those living with HIV and other illnesses, and improve the health of millions.”

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs