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Exploring disparities between global HIV / AIDS funding and recent tsunami relief efforts: an ethical analysis.
Developing World Bioethics. 2007; 7(1):1-7.The objective was to contrast relief efforts for the 26 December 2004 tsunami with current global HIV/AIDS relief efforts and analyse possible reasons for the disparity. Methods: Literature review and ethical analysis. Just over 273,000 people died in the tsunami, resulting in relief efforts of more than US$10 bn, which is sufficient to achieve the United Nation's long-term recovery plan for South East Asia. In contrast, 14 times more people died from HIV/AIDS in 2004, with UNAIDS predicting a US$8 bn funding gap for HIV/AIDS in developing nations between now and 2007. This disparity raises two important ethical questions. First, what is it that motivates a more empathic response to the victims of the tsunami than to those affected by HIV/AIDS? Second, is there a morally relevant difference between the two tragedies that justifies the difference in the international response? The principle of justice requires that two cases similarly situated be treated similarly. For the difference in the international response to the tsunami and HIV/AIDS to be justified, the tragedies have to be shown to be dissimilar in some relevant respect. Are the tragedies of the tsunami disaster and the HIV/AIDS pandemic sufficiently different, in relevant respects, to justify the difference in scope of the response by the international community? We detected no morally relevant distinction between the tsunami and the HIV/AIDS pandemic that justifies the disparity. Therefore, we must conclude that the international response to HIV/ AIDS violates the fundamental principles of justice and fairness. (author's)
UN Chronicle. 1987 Aug; 24: p..Severe shortages of doctors and other health workers in some countries and an oversupply of health professionals in others were among the problems addressed at the fortieth World Health Assembly. Other topics of concern included: the global battle against acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), maternal and infant health care, diarrhoeal disease control, health education against leprosy, standards for food safety, and help for victims of drought and refugees. The 166-member Assembly, which has endorsed the World Health Organization (WHO) global strategy of Health for All by the Year 2000, also concluded that health was a shared responsibility which rested upon the individual, the community and the government and that the collective commitment of all concerned was required in order to secure adequate economic support for health-for-all strategies. (excerpt)