Bill Clinton favours a large number of people making small donations

Speaking at the XVIII International Conference on AIDS (AIDS- 2010) the ex-president of the US, who is the head of the William John Clinton Charitable Fund, identified a new trend in financing the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He said that the World Fund for Combating AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria had started receiving small donatios from private individuals, which was a welcome novelty. Three European airline ticket agencies had introduced options whereby a percentage of the price was allocated to the fund. Similar practices exist with regard to sporting events and the like. Widespread adoption of such initiatives could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars annually in aid of the campaign against HIV, claimed Bill Clinton. He added  that the 'small donations from a large number of people ' should in the first instance affect states that are not in a position to be donors to the fund.


Mr Clinton proposed that both governments and states should change their approach to expending resources. He stressed that it was ineffective to spend on treatment whilst ignoring prevention, or to pay for treating children whilst ignoring adults and vice versa. He reiterated his view based on experience in Zambia and Malawi, where curtailing expenditure on preventing HIV had led to increased infection and, as a result, a greater deficit in the resources available for treatment. His view was that we must continually strive to lower the cost of treatment. A definite success in that direction has been the reduction in the annual cost of treatment with secondary preparations from 1000 to 425 dollars. The cost of treating HIV-positive children has declined from 600 to 200 dollars per year and that, he said, is not the limit.


He also proposed lowering the barriers to practical work in localities. The ex-president thinks that money should be transferred to national governments and local NGOs instead of deploying  international organisations which involved a significant expenditure of energy and financial resources on taking first steps. In his opinion, there were too many meetings and assemblies taking place these days at which much was said and little done. Too many resources were going on research that produced reports that no one read. Mr Clinton claimed that 'every misspent dollar contributed to putting lives at risk'. He called for resistance to the bureaucracy that diverted financial resources from actual aid to people.


In this connection, the policy of the Clinton fund is to change. From now on it will support organisations which pursue faster action and reduced costs. Mr Clinton reminded communal organisation  representatives that most people will never take part in NGO activities or attend conferences like AIDS-2010, but in their hearts they support the fight against the HIV epidemic. 'If you explain how people can help and what enormous resources can be got together by means of collective efforts, they will not be reluctant to give five dollars', he declared'. 


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