To the editor:
"Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings." Nelson Mandela
One of those actions to overcome poverty is to fight the spread of TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria. These diseases destabilize economies and make countries more vulnerable to extremism. At the same time those living in extreme poverty are most affected by the results of climate change, unable to rebuild after flooding, hurricanes, drought, crop failures, etc. Warming temperatures exacerbate the spread of disease.
The most effective organization working to eradicate these diseases is the Global Fund, which has helped save 27 million lives since 2002. It is structured as an innovative partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases. The US supports the Global Fund, providing one-third of its financial resources. Without our bipartisan support many lives would have been lost.
Our foreign aid represents less than 1% of our total budget. Yet our president has proposed cutting foreign aid by as much as 30%. Senator Young has been a leader in the fight against TB, and Rep. Hollingsworth took action in support of the Global Fund this spring. We cannot allow wavering political commitment and budget cuts to threaten our progress to end these epidemics of TB, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. The president stated he wanted to eliminate AIDS in this country. Why not work to eliminate it worldwide? We are all part of humanity.