February 3, 2009

WHAT DO DEMOCRATS CARE ABOUT AFRICA?:

Too partisan on AIDS relief (Boston Globe, February 3, 2009)

Granted, [Dr. Mark Dybul] was a political appointee and not a career professional, but his removal bears all the earmarks of the kind of crude partisanship that Obama has said he deplores.

Under Dybul's leadership, the Bush AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria program won a five-year, $48 billion renewal from Congress last year. That is more than triple the first five-year commitment of $15 billion that Bush had announced in 2003. The program now pays for drug treatment for about 2 million people, mainly in Africa. Dybul did have to adhere to a requirement that one-third of all the program's prevention funds go toward dubiously effective abstinence-only efforts, but Congress had stipulated that. Critics also say he let Catholic relief organizations refrain from dispensing condoms. In spite of that, the Bush program has managed to hand out 2.2 billion condoms.

Names of successors to Dybul are being mentioned in the press. But whoever gets the nod from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would have benefited from some transition time with Dybul.

Score it 1 for partisanship, 0 for public health.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 3, 2009 7:22 AM
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