[Ip-health] MSF: G20 leaders should bail out global health with a FTT

Joanna Keenan-Siciliano joanna.l.keenan at gmail.com
Tue Nov 1 04:25:19 PDT 2011

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has today issued the below media release
calling for the leaders of the G20 countries to include the health needs of
the developing world as a recipient of any implemented financial
transaction tax (FTT).


*G20 leaders should bail out global health with a financial transaction tax*

*Geneva, 1 November 2011 *– The financial transaction tax (FTT), due to be
discussed at this week’s G20 Summit in Cannes, could help save millions of
lives if a percentage were allocated to global health, according to *Five
Lives,* an issue brief released by the international medical humanitarian
organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

“We’ve seen through our work how key health interventions can change lives
as well as the trajectory of pressing health needs,” said Dr Tido von
Schoen-Angerer, Executive Director at MSF’s Access Campaign.  “It’s time
global health got its bailout.”

A tax implemented on just a European level would bring in an estimated €57
billion /US$81 billion per year. If G20 countries also implemented a tax,
it would reap tens of billions of dollars more. Even a portion of that sum
would be a significant boost to tackling global health crises – according
to the World Health Organization, just an extra $1.5 billion is needed to
properly prevent, diagnose and treat tuberculosis in 2012, for example.

Funds could also serve to prevent a child from becoming severely
malnourished; to protect children from deadly measles outbreaks; to prevent
a baby from acquiring HIV at birth; to get people on life-saving
tuberculosis treatment sooner; or to save lives while dramatically reducing
the spread of HIV through treatment.

“With governments scaling back foreign aid, there is no excuse not to
allocate part of the funds raised from a financial transaction tax to
health needs in developing countries,” said Sharonann Lynch, HIV/AIDS
Policy Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign. “A financial transaction tax
would give us the predictable and sustainable funding source that is needed
now more than ever.”

The idea of an FTT is gaining political traction at the very moment global
health is showing the strains of reduced funding.  Funding for HIV, for
example, fell for the first time in 2009, and again in 2010. The Global
Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria was forced to skip a year of grants for
the first time in its history because of a severe financial shortfall.
Funds from an FTT could help bridge the gap between what is needed and what
has actually been given - and thus help countries diagnose more patients
with TB, switch to better malaria protocols, or put more patients on HIV

Recent research shows that HIV treatment can also help prevent new
infections. UNAIDS predicts that 7 million lives would be saved and 12
million new infections prevented by 2020 if treatment is dramatically
expanded now.

“There are funding gaps across global health that could be plugged with
money from a financial transaction tax,” said Lynch. “It’s time to invest
in real lives – real futures.”

- -

* *

MSF’s issue brief, *Five Lives: How a Financial Transaction Tax Could
Support Global Health *outlines through five personal stories the
transformative impact an FTT allocation to global health could have. The
brief is available at msfaccess.org

Joanna Keenan
Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines
Medecins Sans Frontieres


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