Hundreds of Kenyans rallied at a major international malaria conference in Nairobi today to urge U.S. President Barack Obama to show leadership in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Watch this clip from CNN to see the demonstrators in action [from 2 mins 56 secs].
The demonstrators thanked the United States for its previous support in helping scale-up of treatment for these diseases — to the point that nearly half of all Africans who require treatment now can receive it — and called on Obama to help Africa finish the job.
Wearing t-shirts saying “Yes We Can — Help the Other Half,” the demonstrators promised to send thousands of cards and messages urging Obama to continue scaling up treatment for these diseases by significantly expanding investments in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria.
“We believe that Barack Obama will not permit Africa’s struggle to control AIDS, TB and malaria to stop halfway,” said Lucy Chesire, TB advocacy advisor for the ACTION Project. “We haven’t fought this hard to protect the health of our friends, family, and community members only to forget the other half who are still ill and suffering. President Obama and the U.S. must join us in finishing the job. We need increased U.S. investment and partnership to get to the finish line. ”
Overall, Kenya, Africa and low- and middle-income countries in general are nearly 50 per cent of the way toward reaching the goal of treating cases of HIV, TB, and malaria among those who most urgently require treatment. Much of the success in scale-up of treatment and prevention is with programs supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Since 2003, worldwide the Global Fund has supported countries in providing 2.3 million people with ARVs, 5.4 million people with TB treatment, and delivered 74 million anti-malaria treatments.
However, donor governments’ contributions to the Global Fund have not kept pace with the demand of high quality proposals aimed at making life-saving drugs available to everyone who needs them. Consequently, the Global Fund is facing a major funding gap next year, which must be filled if it is to continue its work to scale up and expand successful projects.