Clinton’s possible post as Secretary of State – implications for malaria

The William J Clinton Foundation is among the constituency members of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. As such, the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI), is not aimed at only one disease.  According to the website …

  • CHAI’s first malaria price negotiations reduced the price of one ACT, an effective malaria drug, by 30% and reduced price volatility of artmesinin, the plant extract in ACTs, by 70%.
  • CHAI initiated a pilot subsidy on ACTs in Tanzania which reduced the price in targeted areas by 95% and increased uptake by approximately 45% for people of all ages – 62% for children under 5.

In a conversation between Bill Gates and Bill Clinton on malaria at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting this year, the former President showed his clear interest in the disease by saying that, “Malaria is a good example of the sort of thing that we just celebrated on the stage here. This is something that you can break down into discrete units so no matter how much or little money you have, you can give it to an NGO that will buy a high-quality bed net, put it up, do it in the right way. And so, if you had $5 a year to give, you could still make a big difference in a family’s life.”

CBS News confirmed that, “Former President Clinton’s foundation has signed pricing agreements with several suppliers involved in making a malaria-fighting drug in an effort to stabilize the medication’s fluctuating costs and ensure more dependable availability.” Another side of the story, is that, “Besides benefiting from a more stable market, the suppliers that join the Clinton effort also get business and marketing assistance from the foundation.” Issues like the latter mean that questions are being raised as to how these accomplishments and those for HIV and other global health causes would be affected if Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes Secretary of State in the upcoming Obama administration.

The Washington Post considers the possibility that major donations to the Foundation from international business tycoons, among others, “could present ethical concerns for Sen. Clinton if foreign governments believe they can curry favor with her by helping (such donors), or if they fear that restricting (such donors’) activities would damage their relations with her.” Suggestions range from revealing all donors, to reduced or no involvement by the former President in the Foundation and its fundraising and even to voiding existing standing donations.

The Clinton Global Initiative has posted on its own website a 2006 article from the New Yorker that describes Clinton’s continued international connections on a trip to Berlin. Attending one of the World Cup matches, “The Clintons took their seats in the ‘statesman’s section,’ at midfield. While Clinton’s statesmanship has been strictly freelance for the past six years, he was not far from the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and he spent time during the game, and during the breaks, chatting with old friends-the schmoozer in excelsis.”

The Washington Post talked with Bill Clinton’s associates and concluded that, “those close to the former president said they would be reluctant to see him back away from charitable work that has provided a source of AIDS treatment for 1.4 million people, a major engine in the effort to reduce greenhouse gases and sponsorship of anti-obesity programs in American schools.”

Bill Clinton has been quoted as saying that he will do and disclose whatever is needed to enable Senator Clinton to become Secretary of State. Will this also be good for malaria?

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