Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Disease fund needs $15B

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A woman suffering from malaria rests in a hospital in North Darfur, Sudan, on May 13.

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A woman suffering from malaria rests in a hospital in North Darfur, Sudan, on May 13.

Currently, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria claim more than three million lives a year and afflict the health of hundreds of millions of others. Each year, 600,000 children under the age of five die from malaria, while TB creates 10 million orphans and takes 1.4 million lives.

The global economic impact of these diseases is in the hundreds of billions of dollars, dwarfing the efforts of all foreign aid.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was created to combat these three scourges and has had amazing success, treating 9.7 million people for TB since 2002. They are due for funding replenishment and have announced their funding gap for the next three years is $15 billion.

At the G8 summit in 2010, the Harper government laudably committed to providing $1.1 billion in new funding to help women and children in the world's poorest countries. Because these diseases disproportionally strike women and children, a large portion of that increase was invested in the global fund.

Canada's share now needed to meet this funding shortfall is $250 million a year over the next three years, 0.001 per cent of our federal budget. Stephen Harper has shown improving child and maternal health is important to his government, and the global fund is the best way to make that goal a reality.

NATHANIEL POOLE

Victoria

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 1, 2013 A8

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