Category Archive for 'Health'

This week, you can invest a few minutes in something that will have tremendous impact in the years to come.

Congress will meet soon to decide on the budget for the coming year. Across the US, students, medical residents, nurses, doctors, and public health professionals are working together to send a clear message to Congress: protect funding for global health. Please join us! Click here for information about the 2011 Global Health Week of Action.

Funding for global health is a smart investment. If the Senate fails to sustain or increase global health funding in fiscal year 2012, this will have a devastating impact on health outcomes for years to come:

  • Interrupting the dosage of HIV drugs could allow the virus to develop resistance. If this happened for large numbers of patients currently taking medication, this could affect thousands of patients—and could result in their sexual partners becoming newly infected with resistant virus.
  • Reducing critical U.S. support for vaccinations will mean a sharp spike in children’s deaths from more than a dozen preventable illnesses—and the resurgence of polio, which is closer to eradication that at any other point in history.
  • Reducing U.S. bilateral assistance and support for the Global Fund will also damage efforts to stem the spread of tuberculosis, resulting in more multi-drug resistant TB cases and increasing the death toll among people living with HIV, for whom TB is the already the leading cause of death.
  • Undermining family planning programs compromises HIV prevention, while contributing to greater maternal mortality and threats to child health.
  • Cuts in U.S. support to vital health surveillance programs in developing countries could permit the outbreak of an epidemic like SARS or bird flu – which could cross national boundaries with little time to prepare.
  • Failing to meet our global health commitments could irreparably undermine the trust of other countries. In sub-Saharan Africa—where economic growth rates are much higher than in advanced economies, and where U.S. investment in health has paid considerable foreign policy dividends—these economies are future consumers of U.S. goods and services. Health support for these countries is not only the right thing to do; it makes good economic sense for the U.S.

Please join PHR in urging Congress to protect funding for global health.

Global health spending represents less than 1% of the US federal budget. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.

What’s the Global Health Week of Action?

During National Actions, students and residents across the US coordinate their advocacy efforts to increase their impact. Every spring, the Global Health Week of Action focuses on an urgent health issue that transcends national boundaries. Join us this May 1-7, 2011 to protect federal funding for crucial health programs and research. Interested in creating your own campaign? At the bottom of this post, there are links to new resources to customize your Global Health Week of Action.

The threat to essential global health programs and research

The struggle over the federal budget this year is far from over. As we’ve seen over the past few months, international affairs has been targeted for spending cuts – despite being less than 1% of the overall budget, and despite huge returns on investment (pdf). For background, see previous posts on January 28February 15, and April 15.

Soon, your Senators and Representatives will decide on the federal budget for the coming year, FY2012. For this year’s annual PHR Global Health Week of Action (May 1-7, 2011), let’s make sure that Congress knows  that health professionals see that global health funding is critical – to protect the right to health, to advance international development and security, and to avoid needless suffering and death.

Recruit health leaders to join the campaign

PHR is launching an elite sign on letter that will be addressed to each member of the Senate and the House of Representatives, asking for their advocacy in Congress for a continued robust U.S. response to global health. This letter is a collaborative effort with IDSA’s Center for Global Health Policy, Partners in Health, the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), Health GAP, and Physicians for Human Rights.

  Letter to Congress: Support global health funding

Please ask the leadership and health professionals at your schools and hospitals to agree to add their name to the letter above. Senators and representatives are interested in the opinions of thought-leaders, like your school’s deans and professors, the head of your hospital’s department, and doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. Recruiting these leaders to participate is an effective way to influence Congressional representatives.

Share this letter with leading health professionals on your campus or in your community. The more deans, professors, nurses, public health researchers and practitioners, and doctors who participate, the better. To sign onto the letter, please click here and enter your name, title, affiliation, and city. The deadline for signing on is Sunday, May 8th at 9 pm EST.

You might use this script when asking people to join the campaign:

Global health spending is in jeopardy for the FY 2012 federal budget. Cuts in global health support would have dramatic and long-term consequences, and would do almost nothing to balance the budget. I would like to invite you to join us in sending a letter to Congress.

Please consider adding your name to this letter, which is a collaborative effort with IDSA’s Center for Global Health Policy, Partners in Health, the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).  PHR will present these letters to our state’s members of congress to demonstrate that leaders in health support lifesaving and cost-effective global health programs. Please help show our senators and representatives that health professionals who live and work in the state they represent value U.S. leadership in global health.

You might ask for a face-to-face meeting to request that they sign on to the letter. If they agree to meet, be well-informed and prepared to make your case. Here’s a series of posts on this issue in this blog. Laurie Garret’s now-classic “The Challenge of Global Health” (pdf) and this analysis of the sources and uses of global health funding offer useful context. Your target may also be persuaded by an email or a phone call. Either way, respect their time: being able to succinctly state your case is an important skill in advocacy.

When they agree to sign on, please add their information to this form.

If they’re enthusiastic, ask them to share the letter and the link to the form with other leaders.

PHR will compile the names of the leaders who you recruit to sign on to the letter.  We will deliver the letters to your members of Congress. If you’d like to join us, please let us know! You can track the status of US funding for key global health accounts to be sure your information is up-to-date.

Ready to do more? Other options for your Global Health Week of Action.

To educate your campus or community, refer to the PHR Student Chapter Toolkit for detailed information about how to plan and lead an advocacy campaign, host educational events, and more.

You may choose from these issues and use the PHR Toolkits to lead education and advocacy, or select another issue that you’re passionate about:


A widow and her children in Afghanistan.

The federal budget battle is not yet over, and global health funding is in jeopardy.

In previous posts on January 28 and February 15, I urged you to make your Senators aware that global health funding is a priority to you. Budget cuts for critical health programs – even short term – will have disastrous long term consequences. Cutting too deeply would hamper our ability to prevent or cure illness and to support the health and wellbeing of the millions who depend on sustained funding. Thanks in part to the advocacy of people like you, the cuts to international development for the rest of this fiscal year were less drastic than many feared.

The fight is not over, and the discussion over the past months demonstrates that many politicians consider global health programs to be expendable. Although global health funding may not be drastically reduced in the short term, these essential programs are under serious threat in the coming year (FY2012).

For this year’s annual Global Health Week of Action (May 1-7, 2011), let’s make sure that DC knows that health professionals see that global health funding is critical – to protect the right to health, to advance international development and security, and to avoid needless suffering and death.

Next week, I’ll share the materials for the Global Health Week of Action. I’ll also launch an exciting new resource so that you can plan your own educational or advocacy inititative.

US leadership is crucial to improving health

For over 100 years, America has been a leader in the efforts  to improve global health. The US supports the Millennium Development Goals, which means reducing deaths in children less than five years of age by two-thirds, lowering the maternal mortality rate by 7%, and halting the HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics. This has been a nonpartisan issue for years. Under both Republican and Democratic administrations, the U.S. government has joined other nations to innovate, lead, and fund health programs worldwide.

There is much to be proud of. As a result of U.S. leadership on global health, the world’s most vulnerable communities are reaping extraordinary health dividends. With America at the forefront of the global AIDS response, the number of AIDS deaths has declined by almost a quarter over the last decade, while the number of new HIV infections has fallen by a comparable amount. In part due to America’s considerable investments in malaria control, global production of insecticide-treated bed nets has risen five-fold since 2004, and the number of households regularly using bed nets for malaria prevention has increased more than 40-fold in some African countries. U.S. support has also proved vital to achieving recent improvements in TB case detection and treatment rates and reductions in overall global TB burden, accomplishments that have effectively halted what was only recently an out-of-control growth in new TB cases.

U.S. leadership has been especially critical in promoting the health and wellbeing of women and children. Since 1990, the childhood mortality rate has fallen by nearly 30%. Due in part to U.S. support for health systems strengthening in low-income countries, the number of maternal deaths decreased by 34 percent from 1990 to 2008, even as the population of reproductive-aged women increased.

Don’t jeopardize fragile gains: maintain or expand global health funding

In short, the world is within reach of achieving one of the most important of all global goals—sharply reducing health inequities. Yet recent gains are exceedingly fragile, and the drastic cuts in global health funding that have been proposed place the advances of the last two decades in grave peril.

As Michael Gerson, a former advisor to President George Bush  in the creation of the President’s Malaria Initiative, says in a recent Washington Post article,

Global health programs are not analogous to many other categories of federal spending, such as job training programs or support for public television. A child either receives malaria treatment or does not. The resulting risk of death is quantifiable. The outcome of returning to 2008 spending levels, as Republicans propose, is predictable. Fiscal conservatives tend to justify these reductions as shared sacrifice. But not all sacrifices are shared equally. Some get a pay freeze. Some get a benefit adjustment. Others get a fever and a small coffin. This is not fiscal prudence. It is the prioritization of the most problematic spending cuts — a disproportionate emphasis on the least justifiable reductions. One can be a budget cutter and still take exception to cuts at the expense of the most vulnerable people on earth. In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron is pursuing even greater austerity while increasing funding for development.

Although the need for fiscal restraint has placed policymakers in a difficult position, proposed cuts in global health programs would contribute very little to deficit reduction.

International affairs constitutes only about 1% of the federal budget, with health assistance representing only a fraction of the larger account for foreign assistance. These eminently affordable investments are humanitarian, diplomatic, and economically sound, as they enable people to continue working and reduce the likelihood of disease transmission, thereby averting substantial future health care costs.

Join PHR in May for the Global Health Week of Action. Ensure that the lives of the most vulnerable are not placed in even greater jeopardy.

In December 2010, Côte d’Ivoire’s long-overdue elections resulted in violence as the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to cede power to his long-time political opponent, Alassane Ouattara. In the months since the election, Gbagbo has clung to power even as Ouattara, recognized by the African Union, European Union, United States, and United Nations as the rightfully-elected president, has attempted to take control. With both men arming militias and battling for control over the country’s resources, Côte d’Ivoire has devolved into a civil war with hundreds dead. The UN estimates 500 Ivoirians have been killed since the election, while Ouattara argues the figure is twice as high. Bloodshed the weekend of April 2nd may have killed over a thousand more. Gbagbo, a former academic whose presidential term ended in 2005, views the pronouncements of the international community – and particularly of France, the former colonial power – as imperialist efforts to undermine African sovereignty. Gbagbo has largely enjoyed the loyalty of the military and Ivoirian elite, who backed him even as the international community attempts to drive him from power with ever-tougher sanctions. The media’s recent focus on uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East appear to have emboldened Gbabgo, whose increasingly violent tactics may amount to crimes against humanity.

In the past week, opposition fighters have taken the capital of Yamoussoukro and up to 80% of the country, though a fierce battle rages on in Gbagbo’s stronghold of Abidjan, the country’s largest city. Next door in Liberia, USAID is feeling the pressure as thousands of Ivoirians stream across the border in an attempt to flee the fighting that has engulfed the capital of Abidjan, as well as much of Western Côte d’Ivoire. Looting, rapes, and killings have occurred in the border region, and the UN estimates 46,000 refugees have fled into Liberia in the last month alone. Liberia was initially hesitant to create refugee camps, leading groups like USAID and Oxfam to house refugees with local families. A camp in Bahn has now been opened, as it became clear the initial response was insufficient. However, many refugees have been unable to make the six-hour journey on poor roads required to reach the camp. Conditions for refugees crossing the border are extremely harsh: there is a notable lack of food and water, as well as poor sanitation and inadequate shelter. This weekend, Oxfam warned that many Ivoirian refugees are living in remote jungle areas on the Liberia-Côte d’Ivoire border. When the rainy season begins, aid groups will be unable to reach the estimated 100,000 people already in danger along the border.

The US government has provided almost $29 million in assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons, and Liberian communities affected by the violence in Côte d’Ivoire. Over the weekend, the BBC reported that health workers were unable to leave hospitals in Abidjan, which were quickly running out of resources. With grocery stories and pharmacies closed, hospitals – where more civilians than combatants are admitted– are in a dire situation. The WHO voiced concerns in February about the health infrastructure in Côte d’Ivoire, saying the post-election violence had exacerbated recent epidemics, including yellow fever and cholera. Refugee migration may serve to spread these diseases into Liberia. In Côte d’Ivoire and neighboring Liberia, a desperate humanitarian crisis shows no signs of an amicable or swift end.

In the months since Sujal Parikh’s untimely passing, I’ve thought of him often. In the past few months, I have been struck by how many people have mentioned that they were inspired by how he bridged his intellectual inquiry with his commitment to social justice. In the words of Susannah Sirkin, PHR’s Deputy Director:

Sujal’s range of interests and commitments to the health and human rights agenda was vast…. His grasp of the connections between disease and human rights, and his engagement with the strengthening of a true advocacy movement for health and rights was always so serious, but also so much fun. His wit and intensity and humility will inspire me as we mourn his loss.

In an effort to respond to students who want to honor him, remember him, and inspire others to follow in his footsteps, I would like to invite you to contribute to two annual academic events that celebrate this link between research and action for social justice.

One is the Sujal Parikh Memorial Education Expo at the PHR National Student Conference this February 12 in Boston. As a member of the PHR National Student Program’s Student Advisory Board, Sujal Parikh presented at previous Conferences, and the Student Advisory Board has chosen to name the Educational Expo after Sujal. There is still time to submit your proposal and register for the Conference. It promises to be an excellent opportunity to share ideas, resources, lessons learned, and inspiration.

The other event has been established in Sujal’s honor by a diverse group of people who studied and worked with him throughout his medical training.  The first annual Sujal Parikh Memorial Symposium on Health and Social Justice will take place March 26, 2011 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Those who cared for and admired Sujal – and it’s becoming clear to me that this includes almost everyone who came in contact with him – are invited to contribute, as are those who share his passion for health and social justice.

Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues and Admirers of our friend, Sujal Parikh,

We are pleased to announce the inaugural Sujal Parikh Memorial Symposium on Health and Social Justice. The goal of this event is to honor the life of Sujal Parikh and to carry on his vision by bringing together a community to advance health and social justice. This year’s theme is: The Social (Justice) Network. See the below call for proposals for further details on presentations and content.

March 26th, 2011

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Register here. The deadline for registration, which is free, is March 12, 2009.

For interested presenters: We are currently soliciting presenters to discuss innovative ideas pertaining to one of the following themes that were important to Sujal:

1) Curricula as an agent of social change: Education shapes future leaders’ views, values, and goals. In this way, curriculum can be a powerful tool for driving social change. Do you have an example of an innovative and effective curriculum related to health or social justice?

2) Defining health equity: A rigorous, vetted definition of this buzzword is critical for the next generation of leaders to advance meaningful change in global health.  How do we, as the millennial generation, define “health equity”? How can this definition guide practices and programs?

3) Innovations in global engagement: Global engagement is rife with controversy and ethical concerns, but these tensions can be negotiated with meaningful results. Are you pioneering a progressive global partnership? How can students and social justice advocates be sensitive to a community’s unique social context?

We hope to have a wide variety of speakers, from experts in their fields to students to community workers. Everyone is welcome to submit proposals!

  • Presentations should be no longer than 20 min. Please see TED Talks for the style of talks we are envisioning.
  • The deadline for presentation proposal submission is February 18th, 2011.
  • If you are unsure you can attend the symposium, please let us know if you would be interested in submitting a remote presentation! The logistics for this are currently being arranged.

For details and the online application, please visit the website.

We look forward to seeing you soon and sharing ideas about advancing health and social justice on March 26th!

Best,

Jennifer Bass, Coordinator

Alexandra Coria, Recruitment Co-chair

Katie Ratzan Peeler, Recruitment Co-chair

The World Health Organization has published new guidelines meant to address the health worker shortage that plague rural and impoverished regions. In a July 2010 policy recommendation paper, the WHO offers recommendations to aid worker retention and attract new health workers to overlooked areas. Strategies include altering the ways in which students are selected and trained, as well as improvements in working and living conditions.

The WHO explains that “a shortage of qualified health workers in remote and rural areas impedes access to health-care services for a significant percentage of the population, slows progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals and challenges the aspirations of achieving health for all.” The WHO’s recommendations come at the request of global leaders, civil society groups, and Member States. WHO recommendations fall into four categories, with greater detail and context available within the body of the Report:

  1. EDUCATION RECOMMENDATIONS
    Recommendations include targeted admission policies to enroll students with a rural background (who are statistically more likely to then practice in rural areas), exposing students to greater rural field work, and locating schools and residency programs outside of major cities.
  2. REGULATORY RECOMMENDATIONS
    Recommendations include the creation of compulsory service requirements in rural and remote areas, educational subsidies offered with enforceable agreements of return service work in rural areas, and a focus on increasing the scope of medical practice in remote regions to increase job satisfaction.
  3. FINANCIAL INCENTIVES RECOMMENDATIONS
    The WHO suggests “a combination of fiscally sustainable financial incentives, such as hardship allowances, grants for housing, free transportation, paid vacations, etc., sufficient enough to outweigh the opportunity costs associated with working in rural areas, as perceived by health workers, to improve rural retention.”
  4. PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT RECOMMENDATIONS
    Recommendations include improved living conditions for health workers and their families in remote locales, career development programs to help rural workers progress in their careers, and the creation and promotion of senior posts in rural areas so that advancing workers are not forced to leave their communities.

The WHO suggests policies should be implemented in conjunction with the country’s national health plan and should be guided by the concept of health equity. The Report states that some countries, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Mali among them, are already considering using WHO recommendations to inform their retention policy.

As WHO guidelines have been disseminated, an August 14 article in The Lancet registered a first critique, underlining the roles of NGOs and INGOs in the internal brain drain within struggling countries. As an addendum to the WHO report, the article offers further policy recommendations, to be implemented in conjunction with WHO strategies.

Only 37% of Ugandan physicians are satisfied with their jobs and nearly half are at risk of either exiting the health sector or leaving Uganda entirely, according to a study published this year by the International Journal of Health Planning and Management. The study, “Satisfaction, Motivation, and Intent to Stay Among Ugandan Physicians,” is co-authored by Emily Bancroft, a former Leland Fellow with PHR in the US and AGHA in Uganda. Dovetailing with PHR’s previous works on health worker shortages in Africa, the study’s results come from a sample group of physicians working in 18 public and private health facilities in Uganda representing approximately 3% of Ugandan physicians. This study came about at the behest of Uganda’s Ministry of Health, which hopes to analyze how to implement effective policy reforms to strengthen and expand their health workforce. Bancroft’s team, headed by long time PHR advisor Professor Amy Hagopian of the University of Washington, urges Ugandan policy-makers to intervene to stem the “brain drain” that is heightened by factors such as low wages, poor infrastructure and materials, few opportunities to progress within the medical field, and regional isolation for doctors outside large cities.

14% of Ugandan physicians emigrate abroad, largely to four English-speaking countries—the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. This number is significantly lower than that of some other countries in peril. For example, it is frequently said that more Malawian doctors practice in Manchester, England, than in the entire country of Malawi. Although Uganda’s health workforce shortage seems less drastic than Malawi’s, the crisis is no less dire: in 2008, the study’s authors estimated that there are only 2,500 physicians for Uganda’s 31 million inhabitants. Physicians, far more so than other Ugandan health professionals, were seen by Bancroft and colleagues as dissatisfied with their work and both ready and capable of vacating their posts if the opportunity should arise. Along with nurses, physicians are the group most heavily courted by international recruiters, which means many of the physicians Bancroft spoke with may already have found an opportunity to leave Uganda.

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have exacerbated the “brain drain” seen in Uganda and throughout Africa with “structural adjustment” policies that cap domestic health expenditures. Wealthy countries can offer doctors higher salaries, greater career advancement opportunities, and, in many cases, a more stable political environment in which to work.

The Global HEALTH Act, introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee in March 2010, would assist Uganda’s efforts and help curtail health workforce shortages in countries facing similar crises by providing $2 billion over five years to increase the number of physicians, nurses, and other health workers in developing countries—and to help retain those health workers already there. The bill not only authorizes new resources, it also calls for the creation of a US Global Health Strategy to complement the goals of countries like Uganda and ensure US aid money goes where it can make a difference. This study will help foreign aid innovations like the Global HEALTH Act to better tackle complex problems like brain drain and to work with communities to solve these challenges—something PHR is dedicated to helping support.

Physicians for Human Rights joins numerous international NGOs, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Borders, in supporting United4Iran’s Global Day of Action on June 12, 2010. June 12 events will be occurring in over 70 cities around the world. Go to 12June.org for more information.

June 12 marks the one year anniversary of Iran’s disputed election, which was followed by a government crackdown that saw an increase in arbitrary arrests, torture, and politically motivated use of the death penalty. The Global Day of Action calls attention to Prisoners of Conscience in Iran, and demands their unconditional release.

Since last year’s elections, the human rights situation in Iran has only grown worse. PHR continues to highlight the case of Drs. Kamiar and Arash Alaei, Iranian doctors who have been held by Iranian authorities since June 2008. After being imprisoned without charge for six months, the Doctors Alaei were convicted and sentenced for the charges of being in “communications with an enemy government” and “seeking to overthrow the Iranian government.” Kamiar was given a three year prison sentence, while Arash was sentenced to six years.

The Iranian government used the doctors’ travel to international AIDS conferences as a basis for the charge. Iran cannot continue to imprison medical professions for doing their job. By equating public health diplomacy with treason, the Iranian government poses a threat to all Iranians working for scientific knowledge.

Stand with PHR and the international community to tell the world that “Treating AIDS is not a crime.” Visit iranfreethedocs.org for more information on the Alaeis. And on June 12, please help us remember and defend those in Iran jailed for their humanitarian work.

DMS student Emma Wright, Thayer professor Daniel Lynch and NGO co-founder Deborah Peterson discussed their experiences on Tuesday. (Ashley Mitchell/The Dartmouth)

The other night, our PHR chapter at Dartmouth Medical School held a panel discussion to highlight the linkages between human rights, global health and the environment. The panel was diverse: Dartmouth Medical School student and former Peace Corps volunteer Emma Wright, Tibet-based NGO The Tendel Group co-founder Deborah Peterson, and Professor Daniel Lynch of the Thayer School of Engineering.

Our panelists were very engaging — we heard about solar cookers, schools, and community collaboration in Tibet, irrigation, sanitation, desertification, and maternal and child health in Mali, and the responsibilities of professionals to address human rights and the foundational importance of water and natural resources to the provision of these rights. The panel was followed by a lively discussion exploring the role that physicians have in promoting environmental sustainability and the opportunities and challenges of working with communities around the globe.

The response was wonderful from the mixed audience of about 50 people, mostly from the medical school and undergraduate college. We displayed copies of recent PHR reports that the national office provided, which helped snag several new interested students. And not only did we put together a great event, we were excited to see the event covered on the front paper of the Dartmouth College daily newspaper the next morning!

On May 10th, The New York Times published a heartrending story on the faltering fight against AIDS in Uganda — a story that has sparked a firestorm of controversy and criticism of the Obama Administration’s global AIDS strategy.

The Times identified a deep funding gap for combating AIDS in Uganda, including a freeze on new funds from the United States and a lack of commitment to AIDS spending by the Ugandan government (which evidently has no problem finding $300 million to spend on Russian fighter jets). The Times also outlined the devastating human toll this funding gap is taking on people living with — and dying of — AIDS.

Sadly, this news is not new. In March 2009, PHR invited Dr. Peter Myugenyi, Founder and Director of the PEPFAR-supported Joint Clinical Research Centre in Uganda, to Washington, DC to talk about the emerging funding gap for AIDS in Uganda. Said Dr. Mugyenyi:

After urging people to get tested and enter care, we now have to tell them there is no treatment available when they need it. We created hope and now we are returning to the days when one member of a family can get treatment and the others cannot.

It is a recipe for chaos as patients start to share doses or skip treatment altogether. I fear that we will soon start to see more drug-resistant strains of HIV and rising death rates.

As The Times notes, one year later, Dr. Myugenyi remains fearful:

Dr. Peter Mugyenyi, the hospital’s founder, helped the Bush administration form its AIDS plan and sat beside Laura Bush during the State of the Union address as it was announced.

The loss of donor interest “makes me frantic with worry,” Dr. Mugyenyi said.

He offers copies of e-mail messages he exchanged with American aid officials. One reminds him that he has been instructed to stop enrolling new patients and asks for an explanation of reports that he is treating 37,000 when only 32,000 are authorized. Another asks him not to announce publicly that his funds have been frozen.

He admits slipping pregnant women and young mothers like Ms. Kamukama into treatment slots “contrary to instructions.”

“Morally, I can’t turn them away,” he said.

This story gained traction worldwide, and was followed by a New York Times editorial, The Wavering War on AIDS, which outlined a $13 billion deficit in AIDS spending, and a series of letters to the editor, including one by PHR Global Health Action Campaign advisor Pat Daoust.

Dr. Mugyenyi won’t turn away patients. And we won’t turn away from this issue.

PHR, in conjuction with other global health groups, sent a letter to Secretary of State Clinton last week, urging her to end the AIDS funding freeze and ensure Ugandans have access to life-saving AIDS treatment.

PHR members have spent years advocating for more global AIDS funding and health programming based on science and human rights. We will continue to fight for greater global health funding, a strong US global health strategy, and to ensure people living with AIDS worldwide have access to drugs and quality care.

Want to help? Encourage your Representative to co-sponsor the Global HEALTH Act, which will provide $2 billion for health system strengthening and support a comprehensive US global health strategy, both of which will help in the fight against AIDS.