terça-feira, janeiro 18, 2005

Ministro das Finanças inglês propõe Plano Marshall contra a sida

Será que o nosso ministro das finanças e das criancinhas partilha a visão do seu colega inglês?

Reuters 13.01.05

Chancellor Gordon Brown has unveiled a $10 billion plan (5.3 billion pound) plan to revitalise the fight against AIDS, saying his scheme may be the world's only hope of beating the epidemic.

Brown wants donors to pledge big funding increases for every front in the battle against HIV/AIDS, from speeding up research into vaccines to providing life-saving drugs for the millions of victims beyond the reach of treatment.

"I believe that the generation that provided the finance to combat, cure and eradicate the world's deadliest disease of today -- and today the world's least curable disease -- HIV/AIDS -- will rightly earn the title 'the great generation'," Brown said on Thursday in a speech on his African tour.

Brown will seek billions of dollars of funding increases for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, ensuring it can rely on a steady supply of cash to finance rapid expansion of AIDS programmes in poor countries.

The Fund praised Brown's plan as a far-sighted, balanced and sound strategy. "Gordon Brown's ideas are big and bold -- just what we need to win the war against this virus," it said.

But relief group ActionAid said Brown had emphasised vaccine research at the expense of speeding up treatment now. "While encouraging the pharmaceutical industry to discover an HIV vaccine is important ... HIV is decimating African countries," it said. "An HIV vaccine is probably at least 10 years away. Treatments are needed now."

ActionAid, echoing widespread criticism in the aid community of delays in Western funding for the world's fight against AIDS, said a World Health Organisation plan to extend anti-retroviral therapy to three million people by 2005 was way behind schedule. "ActionAid calls on the Chancellor to ensure G8 countries commit funding for HIV treatments for all who need it."

Britain has pledged to use its presidency of the G8 group of industrialised nations this year to push for a "Marshall plan" to fight poverty through debt relief, dismantling trade barriers and boosting aid, as well as raising AIDS funding.

"Existing financial mechanisms on their own will not stop the pandemic," Brown said. "I believe that the strategy I have put forward today ... is not just a better way but perhaps the only way of avoiding an even greater catastrophe," he said.

By securing pledges of funds Brown hopes to ensure that governments can make the necessary investments now in everything from hospitals to sex education and the bulk buying of drugs to save millions of lives in the future.

Brown aims to double funding for research on an HIV/AIDS vaccine from the current 400 million pounds spent each year, and build a global system to coordinate work by scientists so breakthroughs can be shared more widely.

The scheme also aims to encourage drugs firms to accelerate the search for a vaccine by persuading rich countries to promise to buy doses on behalf of governments in Africa, the continent hardest hit by the disease.

"If donors committed to buying the first 300 million vaccine courses at $20 per course of vaccinations, for example, that would translate into a $6 billion guarantee -- large enough to induce much stronger interest from both large and small pharmaceutical firms," Brown said.

Hoping that the global outpouring of sympathy for victims of the Asian tsunami will persuade rich countries to provide more funds, Brown said the AIDS scheme would be combined with broader moves to fight poverty fuelling the epidemic.

Funding for the plan will come from Brown's planned International Finance Facility, which seeks to double aid by leveraging existing budgets in the capital markets and give $50 billion more in aid each year to the poorest nations.

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