Canadian funds fight diseases

At the recent gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, the health of the world’s citizens was a key concern.

To the Editor,

At the recent gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, the health of the world’s citizens was a key concern.

Currently, HIV, TB 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 HIV, Malaria, and TB was created to combat these three scourges, and has treated 9.7 million people for TB since 2002. They are due for funding replenishment, and have announced that their funding gap for the next three years is $15 billion.

At the G-8 summit in 2010, the Harper government laudably committed to providing $1.1 billion in new funding to help.

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, or .001 percent of our federal Budget.

Mr. Harper has to show that improving child and maternal health are important to his government, and the Global Fund is the best way to make that a reality.

Nathaniel Poole,

Victoria, B.C.

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