IN OTHER WORDS : Clinton’s aid

Of all the people in poor countries who suffer from AIDS, children are the least likely to get treatment. About 2.2 million children have the AIDS virus, and more than half a million die every year, virtually all of them in poor countries. Yet only 15,000 to 25,000 children in these nations are taking the anti-retroviral drugs that allow children in the US to lead normal lives.

An announcement by former President Bill Clinton may help lower some of these obstacles for the said lot. The Clinton Foundation says it has raised money to provide treatment to 10,000 children in 10 poor countries by the end of the year, and will work with UNICEF to include at least 60,000 children by the end of 2006. The foundation also announced that it would spend $5 million to try to replicate in rural Rwanda a celebrated pilot project that successfully provides AIDS treatment and other health care in rural Haiti. The foundation fills gaps with technical expertise, plus Clinton’s Rolodex and persuasive talents. When it comes to children and AIDS, this is an important role. Paediatric anti-retrovirals cost four times the adult versions. By financing a large order, Clinton says he has persuaded Cipla, an Indian generic manufacturer, to halve the price of its paediatric anti-retroviral. By taking on the issue, Clinton is forcing others to confront the fact that we are needlessly leaving children to die. — The New York Times