Views from the Center

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HIV/AIDS Control May be Crowding Out Other Health Initiatives

HIV/AIDS control is now receiving enormous attention in global health circles. This is reason both for celebration and concern. It is reason for celebration because the disease has been neglected in the past and the tide may be turning against this humanitarian crisis. It is reason for concern because there is growing evidence that the extensive focus on this one disease is crowding-out resources and policy-maker attention for the many other causes of death and illness of the poor in the developing world.

More Health Workers, Yes. But Only Within Better Systems

*This post is co-authored by Ruth Levine
In the Washington Post today, three doctors with sterling reputations in the AIDS world (Lola Daré, executive secretary of the African Council for Sustainable Health Development International and a member of CGD's working group on IMF programs and health spending; Paul Farmer, pioneer of new AIDS treatment programs in Haiti and Rwanda; and chief of Harvard Medical School's Department of Social Medicine Jim Kim, a member of CGD's working group on the Global Fund), call on the Bush Administration to spend $8 billion on training of community workers, nurses and doctors in Africa to deal with AIDS treatment.
Their proposition that many more community-level health workers be deployed to provide essential services, breaking the implicit and costly monopoly of health "professionals" on health delivery, makes eminent sense. But more money for training, without complementary institutional changes that fundamentally alter the incentives for workers at all levels, won't get the outcomes sought by those who are working on AIDS, or any other health challenges.