02 November 2008

Turn back your clock and run a marathon

For all the times that I slight our current president (pretty much all the time).  There is actually some good that he has done over the past eight years.  Yes, I am of a clear mindset.  
In 2003, Bush announced the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  This program made a five year $15 billion commitment to combating HIV/AIDS globally.  With the program coming to its end this year the unimaginable happened....It was made better.  PEPFAR was further expanded to include malaria and tuberculosis.  The "Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008" extended PEPFAR until 2013 and increased funding to $48 billion. 
While not perfect, PEPFAR has finally shown a commitment to eradicating global diseases that affect millions of people across the world.  This money has created grants for groups like CMMB to distribute the necessary medicines as well as allow volunteers such as myself to go and serve in the countries that need help.
PEPFAR has a focus of fifteen countries that need the most aid.  They are:  BotswanaCôte d'IvoireEthiopiaGuyanaHaitiKenyaMozambiqueNamibiaNigeriaRwandaSouth AfricaTanzaniaUganda,Vietnam, and Zambia.  Most of the funds are directed at these fifteen nations, but the money is also used for research and contributions to the global fund.
PEPFAR focuses on many of the same issues such as the prevention of transmission from mother to child of HIV/AIDS.  There are in fact ways that HIV positive mothers can protect their children during pregnancy.  Both CMMB and PEPFAR are abstinence based programs.   This approach has been criticized as impractical and I personally believe that the distribution of condoms to prevent the spread of disease is vital to ending HIV/AIDS.  However, CMMB offers a comprehensive approach to reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS and a lot has to do with teaching the people what it actually means to have this virus and what measures can be taken to prevent its transmission.  In the end, transmission cannot occur if a positive individual abstains from sexual relations.
I will later discuss how effectively this program is working.  It is easy to make assumptions without any firsthand knowledge.  Living in Kenya for a year will give me the opportunity to actually see abstinence in action and make conclusions based on my observations.

(info from wikipedia.org)