Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HIV, Ebola, and spending

This is government speak to absolve individuals who spread this disease of all responsibility.

"Creating an AIDS-free generation will require shared responsibility, including that of partner governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector, civil society, and faith-based organizations, among others."

Yet when a nurse who gave her best to help a dying Ebola patient comes down with the disease, SHE violated protocol.


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife announced Tuesday they are donating $25 million to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control foundation to fight the Ebola crisis. Wow. That's spitting into the wind. Why not give it to a church or charity who actually do something like building hospitals and training local medical staff, or to pharmaceutical R & D companies developing a vaccine or cure? WHO estimates that between 40% and 70% of African health facilities are the property of or managed by Catholic churches. I'm sure they could use some help now that treating Ebola is interfering with other health concerns like malaria, TB and AIDS. Or, since so many Liberian doctors and nurses have died from Ebola, perhaps he could fund their replacements. $25 million for CDC is chump change.


Think we spend too much on other countries' health problems? When asked, many Americans guess 28% of our budget goes to foreign aid, but it's actually less than 1%. G.W. Bush really pushed the envelop increasing U.S. global health funding from $1.7 billion to $8.2 billion; Obama? Not so much. It's at $8.7 billion. But let's say it's roughly $9 billion. Sounds like a lot on my pension, but that's out of $4 TRILLION, or less than 1%. The largest amounts go to Africa, and most is for HIV ($4.9 billion); very little for "neglected tropical diseases" like Ebola. Also, since the Democrats came into power, some foreign aid is dependent on those countries accepting our anti-family, birth control programs. So don't believe all the hate ads you're seeing from the Democrats that stingy Republicans are to blame for Ebola. The CDC share of the health budget actually went up. (Statistics from Kaiser Family Foundation, published in JAMA, April 23/30, 2014; editorial comments are my own)




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