Wasting more billions on, well intentioned meddling, in African affairs?

As an NGO, working in Malawi, the easiest way to source funding is to get into the AIDS BUSINESS.
Aid is big business, But Aids is where the serious money is. In the villages where we work, clean drinking water is the number one priority, and water borne disease is the major killer. Rebranding ourselves as an organization delivering clean water with a HIV/Aids focus may be the way to go!

The following is a link to a hard hitting article by Laurie Garrett on how Aids funding is affecting basic healthcare programmes: http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070101faessay86103/laurie-garrett/the-challenge-of-global-health.html

Summary: Thanks to a recent extraordinary rise in public and private giving, today more money is being directed toward the world’s poor and sick than ever before. But unless these efforts start tackling public health in general instead of narrow, disease-specific problems — and unless the brain drain from the developing world can be stopped — poor countries could be pushed even further into trouble, in yet another tale of well-intended foreign meddling gone awry.
Laurie Garrett is Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health.

Less than a decade ago, the biggest problem in global health seemed to be the lack of resources available to combat the multiple scourges ravaging the world’s poor and sick. Today, thanks to a recent extraordinary and unprecedented rise in public and private giving, more money is being directed toward pressing heath challenges than ever before. But because the efforts this money is paying for are largely uncoordinated and directed mostly at specific high-profile diseases — rather than at public health in general — there is a grave danger that the current age of generosity could not only fall short of expectations but actually make things worse on the ground.
This danger exists despite the fact that today, for the first time in history, the world is poised to spend enormous resources to conquer the diseases of the poor. Tackling the developing world’s diseases has become a key feature of many nations’ foreign policies over the last five years, for a variety of reasons. Some see stopping the spread of HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, avian influenza, and other major killers as a moral duty. Some see it as a form of public diplomacy. And some see it as an investment in self-protection, given that microbes know no borders. Governments have been joined by a long list of private donors, topped by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, whose contributions to today’s war on disease are mind-boggling.
Thanks to their efforts, there are now billions of dollars being made available for health spending — and thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and humanitarian groups vying to spend it. But much more than money is required. It takes states, health-care systems, and at least passable local infrastructure to improve public health in the developing world. And because decades of neglect there have rendered local hospitals, clinics, laboratories, medical schools, and health talent dangerously deficient, much of the cash now flooding the field is leaking away without result.
Moreover, in all too many cases, aid is tied to short-term numerical targets such as increasing the number of people receiving specific drugs, decreasing the number of pregnant women diagnosed with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), or increasing the quantity of bed nets handed out to children to block disease-carrying mosquitoes. Few donors seem to understand that it will take at least a full generation (if not two or three) to substantially improve public health — and that efforts should focus less on particular diseases than on broad measures that affect populations’ general well-being.
Unless the US and other wealthy nations radically increase salaries and domestic training programs for physicians and nurses, it is likely that within 15 years the majority of workers staffing their hospitals will have been born and trained in poor and middle-income countries. As such workers flood to the West, the developing world will grow even more desperate.
Few of the newly funded global health projects, meanwhile, have built-in methods of assessing their efficacy or sustainability. Fewer still have ever scaled up beyond initial pilot stages. And nearly all have been designed, managed, and executed by residents of the wealthy world (albeit in cooperation with local personnel and agencies). Many of the most successful programs are executed by foreign NGOs and academic groups, operating with almost no government interference inside weak or failed states. Virtually no provisions exist to allow the world’s poor to say what they want, decide which projects serve their needs, or adopt local innovations. And nearly all programs lack exit strategies or safeguards against the dependency of local governments.
“By one reliable estimate,” notes Garrett, “there are now more than 60,000 AIDS-related NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] alone.” Yet by 2006, after a global campaign to bring HIV/AIDS care to Africa, less than 25 percent of Africans who needed ARVs to survive were receiving them, with the fraction dwindling to less than five percent in rural areas. Worse, new infections continue apace.

So what on earth, one might ask, are all these AIDS-focused NGOs doing? That is a very good question, and we should all be grateful to Garrett for posing it so provocatively.
If you take Malawi as an example: you may be able to ask these questions of people you find at the best hotels and restaurants being driven in the most up to date jeeps or in the first class areas of planes. They may also be calling themselves volunteers and definitely complaining about the local population. In my research I found a few interesting facts. Iceland has an Aids mission to Malawi. In some places up to 80% of donor funds get diverted from their intended purpose. The top three killer diseases are in the areas of childbirth, and respiratory and intestinal infections in children. (Clean water can help greatly here). Nurses in Malawi get three times the salary of primary teachers.

Finally my observations suggest that equivalent spending on appropriate, primary education, might have a much bigger effect on the Aids problem than the current, supposed, medical interventions


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s