Fight Disease, Not Just AIDS

Public health expert urges perspective in global efforts
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2008 1:05 PM CST
Charles Kibe (R), a volunteer who works with HIV/AIDS infected people in the Korogocho slum in eastern Nairobi, greets patients at a Catholic run church health clinic 17 December 2007. (SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Global action to fight HIV/AIDS is imperative, but wealthy countries should reconsider committing most of their assistance to just one disease, Harvard expert Daniel Halperin writes in today's New York Times. Cheaply preventable illnesses like diarrhea claim many more lives in the poorest African countries than HIV yet receive scant attention, Halperin writes, calling attention to the "discrepancy between Western donors’ priorities and the real needs of Africans."

Tuberculosis and malaria round out Halperin's "big three"; he argues against focusing on them while ignoring problems like access to clean water and prenatal care. And he laments that "the best health practitioners have abandoned lower-paying positions in family planning, immunization and other basic health areas in order to work for donor-financed HIV programs."