US Health Secretary links GM acceptance to help with AIDS in Africa
"About one in five adults in Zambia has HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, making it one of the worst affected countries in southern Africa, the epicentre of the pandemic
"Thompson also said Zambia, which rejected genetically altered foods last year, must re-think its decision".
The US Health Secretary also says "our experts have done tests and found it completely safe". Perhaps he'd like to tell us who he means by "our experts", as almost all the testing has been doine by the biotech industry. Could he also tell us where those test results are peer-reviewed published?
U.S. needs good plan to give AIDS funds-health chief
By Shapi Shacinda
01 Dec 2003 22:48:23 GMT
LIVINGSTONE, Zambia, Dec 1 (Reuters) - The United States will release the $2 billion earmarked to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries if recipient nations produce transparent spending plans, Health Secretary Tommy Thompson said on Monday.
He told Reuters that grants from the $15 billion pledged by the U.S. would be released faster if there were plans for combating AIDS in each of the 14 countries in Africa and South America.
President George W. Bush promised the money under a five-year plan to combat AIDS, especially in Africa, the continent worst hit by the pandemic.
"We want comprehensive plans from Zambia and the other countries...plans of how they will spend the money for prevention programmes, purchasing anti-retroviral drugs and caring for the patients," Thompson said.
About one in five adults in Zambia has HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, making it one of the worst affected countries in southern Africa, the epicentre of the pandemic.
AIDS is devastating families, communities and economies across sub-Saharan Africa, which now has an estimated 26.6 million people with HIV/AIDS -- more than the rest of the world put together.
The U.S. will review plans submitted by each country and set the parameters for the release of the funds, Thompson said.
He was speaking in Livingstone, 375 km (235 miles) southwest of the Zambian capital Lusaka, where he commemorated World AIDS Day.
"Every single dollar must be accounted for to reach the intended beneficiaries," Thompson said.
But he came under fire from political opponents and AIDS activists when he asked the House of Representatives, led by his own Republican Party, for only $2 billion next year -- $1 billion less than expected for the programme.
Thompson also said Zambia, which rejected genetically altered foods last year, must re-think its decision as scientific evidence showed that such food was safe for human consumption.
"It was a wrong decision by the government and I hope they will rethink it. We are going to make more food available to AIDS patients and the government must decide," Thompson said.
"GM (genetically modified) food is absolutely safe, our experts have done tests and found it completely safe," he added.
Thompson said many African countries were unable to provide AIDS sufferers with nutritious food, and added that the United States was ready to provide that food.