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Sherri Brown

 Doctoral student Sherri Brown (right) chats with a grandmother and her orphaned grandson, who lost his parents to HIV/AIDS. Brown has been examining access to HIV/AIDS drugs in Lesotho, Africa.

AIDS partnerships ineffective: field researcher

May 14, 2009

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Global public-private-partnerships (GP3s) between non-government organizations, drug companies and government institutions are not the panacea to Africa’s AIDS pandemic they were touted to be three years ago.

That’s Sherri Brown’s assessment. The political science doctoral student is nearing the end of three years of research dedicated to studying GP3 efficacy in Lesotho, South Africa.

Brown, a 2007 Pierre Elliot Trudeau doctoral scholarship recipient, says high-profile drug companies and retail chains started partnering with clinics, research institutions and governments in 2004 to make HIV/AIDS anti-retroviral treatment universally accessible in Africa at little to no cost.

The partnerships were inspired by rising worldwide recognition that less than one in 500 HIV/AIDS sufferers in southern Africa could access even the most basic treatment.

But Brown says bureaucracy and self-interest prevented GP3s from making more than a marginal dent in getting HIV/AIDS treatment to affected Africans.

"GP3s have helped bring down the price of HIV/AIDS treatment, but eight out of 10 affected people still can’t access even the most basic treatment," she says.

"People often die waiting for treatment of any kind because they can’t afford the cab ride to the place where the treatment is offered, never mind get around the bureaucratic delays that stymie their access."

Brown says there needs to be a commitment to long-term drug price reductions based on a metric that recognizes and embeds the human right to health.

"We also need increased efforts and resources for basic health-system strengthening so that people can practically, as well as financially, access treatment."

In May Brown will travel to Africa for her third doctoral research field trip.

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Tsany

First time hearing some of you "white" people telling the truth about the state of HIV/AIDS in Africa. WEll done Brown, we've done your research thoroughly and there is probably no sensation in the story.

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