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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

USA/Africa: Mobilizing for the Right to Health USA/Africa: Mobilizing for the Right to Health
Date distributed (ymd): 021120
Document reposted by Africa Action

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Continent-Wide
Issue Areas: +health+ +US Policy Focus


On the eve of World AIDS day, organizations in the U.S. are mobilizing for a demonstration in Washington, DC on Tuesday, November 26, along with a call-in day for others around the country on the same day. Early next year President Bush will travel to Africa. But administration sources indicate there will be no new plan advanced to support efforts throughout the continent to fight AIDS. Demonstrators in Washington will be demanding a reversal of Bush administration policies of systematic neglect and disarmament in face of global threats to human health. Africa Action is a co-sponsor of this action, and is also actively involved in World AIDS Day events in the San Francisco Bay Area, Houston, and Atlanta.

This posting contains (1) the call for the demonstration, and information on buses from New York and Philadelphia. Africa Action strongly encourages those who can make it to Washington to participate in the demonstration; (2) information on calling, faxing, or e-mailing a message to President Bush to coincide with the demonstration and World AIDS Day, and (3) a brief article by Danny Glover on HIV/AIDS and Africa's Poverty

A second posting also sent out today contains information on recent actions to defend the right to health by the newly formed Treatment Action Movement in Nigeria and the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AFRICA ACTION NOTE: As of November 27, 2002, the Africa Action office will be moving to a new address. We will be at 1634 Eye Street, NW, Suite 810, Washington, DC 20006. Telephone, fax, email address, and website will not change.

Pre-World AIDS Day Demonstration against Bush in Washington, DC



Tuesday, November 26, 2002 in Washington, DC
Meet at NOON at McPherson Square, 15th & Eye Street NW.
March on the White House.
(Free buses from New York City and Philadelphia).


Call distributed by Sharonann Lynch, ACT UP New York / Health GAP (Global Access Project) Tel +1 212 674-9598; Mob +1 646 645-5225;


CODE RED: Not another year of deadly AIDS policies.

Code Red is the language the Bush Administration uses to portray a severe threat of terrorist attack in the US. We declare a "Code Red"--the Bush Administration's indifference to the global AIDS crisis is a severe threat to the lives of 40 million people with AIDS around the globe.

On November 13, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the HIV/AIDS pandemic is "the biggest problem that we have on the face of the earth today" and yet the priorities of the Bush Administration are clear: trillions more for the war effort, and trillions in tax cuts for the very rich. Meanwhile the fight against AIDS in the US and in developing countries is neglected, and over 3 million people, overwhelmingly people of color in poor countries, will die this year alone because they lack access to appropriate care and treatment, including antiretroviral therapy.

In the United States, there will continue to be more than 40,000 new HIV infections each year, predominantly in communities of color, because basic public health programs like safe-sex education and harm reduction programs including needle exchange programs are frozen, cut or blocked.

The policies of the Bush administration mean hundreds of millions of people will get infected with, and die from, HIV/AIDS.

We say: Not another year of federal AIDS policies that

  • refuse to commit significant funds to the global battle against HIV/AIDS in a time when treatment and prevention could stem the escalating worldwide epidemicN
  • kick people off AIDS drug assistance rolls throughout the USN
  • block funds for needle exchangeN
  • restrict AIDS education for youth to abstinence-onlyN
  • flat-fund the Ryan White CARE Act and the Minority AIDS Initiative despite growing numbers of people with HIV in need of careN
  • force community organizations to cut services or to shut their doorsN
  • assault AIDS organizations serving communities of color, youth and gay men with vicious audits and intimidation tactics

On Tuesday, November 26, join us to declare CODE RED against the threat of the Bush Administration.

  • With one million infections, there are more people with HIV in the US than ever before.
  • The global epidemic is in its infancy, with today's 40 million infections expected to balloon to 100 million by 2010.
  • Faced with a national and global disaster, President Bush is a man with no plan ... except to starve domestic and international AIDS programs of funds in order to pay for an endless war.


  • Bush is dismantling the fight against AIDS in the US.

    The victories that were fought and won by people with AIDS are facing a rollback under this administration

  • Bush has retreated from efforts to fight AIDS in poor countries.

    Bush Administration officials claim they are leaders in the fight against AIDS in poor countries when in actuality, they sabotage, underfund, and curtail poor countries' efforts to stem the pandemic abroad by bringing affordable AIDS treatment to the 36 million who do not have sustainable access to medicines.

  • Resources to keep people alive are going to war efforts that kill.

    The National Intelligence Council reports HIV/AIDS will cause a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Russia, Nigeria, India and China, and is likely to result in dramatic upheavals across Africa. And yet, President Bush wants $396 billion for war in next year's federal budget. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the war against Iraq could cost anywhere from $9 to $13 billion dollars a MONTH. Other agencies estimate the first 60 days of war will cost $60 billion.


Go to:
Email:, Call: 215-833-4102 or 212-674-9598

Sponsoring Organizations include: ACT UP, Health Global Access Project (GAP), African Services Committee, Africa Action, Housing Works, NYC AIDS Housing Network. Over 300 organizations from every continent have endorsed the call to action imploring Bush to announce a global AIDS plan before the end of January.

For more information on the demonstration and the proposal for the Presidential Global AIDS Initiative, go to

Free Buses to DC leave at 6 AM from various locations. Meals provided. Donations welcome. To reserve your seat, call 212-674-9598, email:
1) Midtown: Columbus Circle at 59th Street. Take the A, B, C, D, 1, 9 to Columbus Circle. N, R, Q, W to 57th Street.
2) SoHo: Broadway & Houston. Take the F, S, V to B'way-Lafayette, 6 to Spring St., or N, R to Prince St.
3) Harlem: 125th St at 7th Ave/Adam Clayton Powell Blvd by the Federal Plaza. Take the A, B, C, D to 125th St.
4) Brooklyn: 1 Hanson Place, corner of Flatbush Ave. Take the 2,3,4,5,Q. LIRR train to Atlantic or W,M,N,R train to Pacific or 2 blocks from C train to Lafayette St. right across from BAM.


Free Buses to DC leave at 8 AM from Broad and Walnut. To reserve your seat, call 215-833-4102, email


On the Eve of Thanksgiving and World AIDS Day, demand White House action against AIDS, domestically and worldwide. Join the Demonstration in Washington, DC on November 26 at noon. Buses available from Philadelphia and New York.

Can't make it to the demonstration? CALL or EMAIL THE PRESIDENT! We seek to flood the White House phone and email lines on November 26 in conjunction with the demonstration in DC, and again on December 2nd. Organize local groups for a call in / email day, tell others, and call or email!

Phone number: 202-465-1111 or 202-456-1414
Fax number: 202-456-2461

Example text:

"Hi. My name is XXX and I am with YYY. I am calling today to implore President Bush to take the lead in a fight to stop the global AIDS pandemic, especially in Africa. Millions of innocent people are dying needless deaths. Individuals are suffering, families are torn, and communities are broken. Entire countries are being destabilized because of HIV/AIDS. The only moral response to this crisis includes immediate political and financial leadership by the United States, which would include a Presidential initiative and an annual commitment of at least $3.5 billion for the United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS."

Talking points/ text points:

1. Donate the Dollars!

Experts have detailed the costs of mounting a credible initiative to control the global pandemic of AIDS, as well as tuberculosis and malaria. At a minimum, $10 billion needs to be spent annually to effectively deal with the current health crisis facing the world. As we enjoy over 30% of the worlds wealth here in the United States, it is only just that we allocate at least $3.5 million annually help save lives.

2. Drop the Debt!

Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa are spending more money on servicing external debts than they are on health care or education. Debt cancellation for impoverished nations facing an HIV/AIDS crisis should support locally determined processes to ensure resulting savings are re- channeled to social needs. Freeing countries from the crushing burden of debt accumulated by passed governments and discredited economic policies imposed by the IMF and World Bank quickly frees up billions of dollars for health and education needs.

3. Treat the People

Ninety-five per cent of the 40 million people with HIV around the world are too poor to buy the drugs that we have in the U.S. that have been keeping people with AIDS alive and healthy and productive. More than 8,000 people are dying needless deaths to AIDS each day. I urge you to implement the World Health Organization plan to get AIDS treatment to three million people with HIV by 2005. Also, the White House must support competition from generic drug manufacturers in order make medicine affordable for those who need it most.

World Aids Day

1st December 2002


There's a correlation between the extent of poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in a given society. The poorer a community is, the higher the incidence of HIV/AIDS there. That's why fighting HIV/AIDS requires a holistic approach that also addresses the issues of poverty.

By Danny Glover

[Third World Network Features, Danny Glover has been a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador since March 1998. The above article first appeared in Choices magazine (UNDP, Vol. 11 No. 3, September 2002).]

My fight against HIV/AIDS is a personal one. I have a brother who is affected by the disease. As an artiste, I also have had numerous friends and colleagues who have suffered from it and died.

As a result, I have learned about its path of destruction through individuals into families and extending into communities, societies and nations. I know about its obvious and not-so-obvious impact on those it leaves behind. It was for these reasons that I decided two years ago to focus a good portion of my work as UNDP's Goodwill Ambassador on building a global movement to fight HIV/AIDS wherever it surfaces and - particularly - in Africa, which has been hardest hit.

The statistics are staggering. More than 40 million people today live with HIV: nine out of 10 are in developing countries; three-quarters of those afflicted live in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Botswana, children born today can expect to live to 36 years. That's about half as long as they would have been able to live in their country if AIDS did not exist. Thirteen million children have lost either a mother or father or both parents to the pandemic since its medical detection three decades ago.

Over the last two years, I have tried to learn as much as I can about various aspects of HIV/AIDS in order to be a better communicator to audiences worldwide that need to be awakened to the damage it inflicts, and how they can protect themselves. Part of my learning process has taken me to visit townships near Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa - the global epicentre of the epidemic at the time of the 13th International AIDS Conference in July 2000.

Along with UNDP Youth Emissary and Philadelphia 76er basketball star Dikembe Mutombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other AIDS activists from around the world, I visited the unmarked grave of Gugu Dlamini. She had been stoned to death by her neighbours for having stated publicly that she was living with AIDS.

Afterwards, we went to visit her township. People of all ages were there to greet us. They lived in modest homes but shared whatever they had. Children and adults from the neighbourhood came clustering around the front door of our host's home to watch the activities inside.

We were treated like kings, despite being surrounded by abject poverty. A local entertainment group showed us how they were getting information across to young people through pop songs and dances. As I listened to the messages they were conveying, and saw how hard people were trying to do it in such creative ways, I kept asking myself: why has Africa been hit so hard?

There are some very obvious reasons. A disproportionate number of the world's poorest countries are in Africa. As a result, there is no money in them to build strong infrastructure to support adequate, well-distributed healthcare systems. Even if, for argument's sake, such infrastructure were in place, it would not be long before it would disintegrate due to lack of funding to maintain it.

Lack of money forces people to make unpleasant and sometimes self-destructive choices in order to survive. For instance, should I buy food for my wife and children or should I buy condoms?

Given that I have an illness requiring antibiotics, should I use the available syringe that someone else has used, since I can't get a clean one because the hospital supply has been depleted for months? Should a 13-year-old child become a prostitute in order to be able to support her younger siblings after their parents have died of AIDS?

There is a correlation between the extent of poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in a given society. The poorer a community is, the higher the incidence of HIV/AIDS there. The Centers for Disease Control in the United States of America have documented this phenomenon, particularly among the African-American and Latino communities.

That's why fighting HIV/AIDS requires a holistic approach that also addresses the issues of poverty. One dilemma feeds the other. -ends-

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Africa Action's information services provide accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

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