I wish to comment on your recent question: “Is the ARV Programme financially sustainable?”
My obvious answer is NO!
It is not “financially” sustainable.
Everyone knows that ARVs are meant to increase one’s span of life…and at least everyone in Botswana would know that ARVs are used by people who are infected by the HIV/AIDS virus. But having said that, and to stick to the matter being discussed, ARVs are useful in sustaining life…even if it means prolonging it by a few years if not decades. Everybody and every government’s concern, amidst this Global economic crisis is about money, if not jobs: and governments and organisations around the world are looking for ways to cut costs in everything imaginable.
HIV/AIDS happens to be one of those problems that existed even before anyone smelt the “credit crunch”…and in my opinion, once the markets have recovered, the disease will still be amongst us.
If anything people will disappear with the diminishing world resources: Less money means, less food, less medical care and lack of interest in ones’ job, among other things…People will become more disillusioned about the meaning of their own lives, and the importance of hard work and caring for fellow human beings…either by offering them new jobs or by spending their own money to care for sick relatives. Life would become all about survival of an individual and the sick would become a burden to society. But common sense tells us that we all are going to die one day, and occasionally we all fall sick, HIV, cancer, tuberculosis or even flu: such is mother nature’s way.
While most of the above mentioned diseases can be prevented or avoided, people are people: they indulge themselves; accidents happen…just like someone who gets involved in a drunken driving accident will tell you that it wasn’t intentional.
So what do you do with them? You launch a massive campaign to try and make them change their behaviour…but one thing you can’t deny them is treatment, unless of course if none is available. The question that you then need to ask is, “why isn’t treatment available? Are we going to sit and watch while people are dying in large numbers from something that we know can be prevented?”. If we do nothing about it, what message are we sending to the rest of the world about ourselves as a nation? Unfortunately, this is something we are going to have to live with for many years to come: I do not see any way that an economy can be improved by letting a larger number of the population perish: Doing that is akin to firing large numbers of the workforce in an attempt to save resources: Who, then, is going to spend money to keep the wheel of the economy turning? The government? I don’t think so! unless the government is an organisation of people who are immune to all sorts of diseases, and ready to eliminate the old and the sick…what a better world that would be, and that sounds to me like the promised land ÔÇô at least from the Bible’s perspective.
Having said that, you cannot equate human life with money, not even a billion. This world needs some more caring. Financial problems are merely a result of careless, greedy people who would rather see the whole world go down while they go up. Treating diseases and looking after fellow human beings should take more than just money. That is as far as the question is concerned.