Posted by: davidjolson | 05/17/2010

In Geneva, increasing concerns about commitment to universal access

This is a guest blog from Dr. Jose M. Zuniga, president and CEO of International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, who is in Geneva for the World Health Assembly.

As a healthcare professional long in the tooth as far as advocacy for prevention of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and hepatitis, it can be difficult at a World Health Assembly (WHA) with its onslaught of health priorities ranging from communicable to non-communicable diseases.

So it is that I came to this WHA, on the heels of a U.S. (and global) pivot to a “global health” agenda (and in the U.S., at least, semingly away from a heretofore inviolate commitment to scaling up access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment), apprenhensive about where infectious diseases might rank in this re-ordered world.

I have been struck on this first day by the number of clinicians, public policy makers, public health experts, patient advocates and government officials who have expressed to me grave concerns about a diminished focus on universal access. We here at the WHA, and people  in their respective countries, have an obligation to speak out for and on behalf of those millions who are looking to G8 countries for continued investments in their futures. Millions more will die without our intercession.

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