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BMC International Health and Human Rights

, 3:2

First Online: 01 April 2003Received: 12 November 2002Accepted: 01 April 2003DOI: 10.1186-1472-698X-3-2

Cite this article as: Tan, D.H., Upshur, R.E. & Ford, N. BMC Int Health Hum Rights 2003 3: 2. doi:10.1186-1472-698X-3-2


BackgroundAlthough a grossly disproportionate burden of disease from HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria remains in the Global South, these infectious diseases have finally risen to the top of the international agenda in recent years. Ideal strategies for combating these diseases must balance the advantages and disadvantages of -vertical- disease control programs and -horizontal- capacity-building approaches.

DiscussionThe Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria GFATM represents an important step forward in the struggle against these pathogens. While its goals are laudable, significant barriers persist. Most significant is the pitiful lack of funds committed by world governments, particularly those of the very G8 countries whose discussions gave rise to the Fund. A drastic scaling up of resources is the first clear requirement for the GFATM to live up to the international community-s lofty intentions. A directly related issue is that of maintaining a strong commitment to the treatment of the three diseases along with traditional prevention approaches, with the ensuing debates over providing affordable access to medications in the face of the pharmaceutical industry-s vigorous protection of patent rights.

SummaryAt this early point in the Fund-s history, it remains to be seen how these issues will be resolved at the programming level. Nevertheless, it is clear that significant structural changes are required in such domains as global spending priorities, debt relief, trade policy, and corporate responsibility. HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are global problems borne of gross socioeconomic inequality, and their solutions require correspondingly geopolitical solutions.

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Autor: Darrell HS Tan - Ross EG Upshur - Nathan Ford


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