Their comments come as world leaders gather for a United Nations summit this week to track the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The World Health Organisation estimates that an added U$ 37-billion would have to be spent annually until 2015 for countries to meet MDGs for health.
According to MSF a financial transaction tax levy for health could assist in reducing malnutrition among children and prevent AIDS related mortalities.
An Intergovernmental Leading Group suggested that a levy of not more than 0.005 percent on the transactions of the world’s four most traded currencies could generate almost U$33-billion annually. Some of this money could be used to implement the latest medical advances against global health threats including malnutrition and HIV.
Sophie Delaunay, executive director of MSF in the United States said lack of funding hindered the implementation of effective health interventions.
‘Our field teams are using new tools and approaches to release children from the deadly grip of malnutrition and to ensure children are born free of HIV, but there is not enough funding for long-term, widespread implementation of effective health interventions. A financial levy for health, by providing a dedicated and predictable funding stream, could mean that patients’ lives are no longer at the mercy of volatile markets and political agendas,’ said Delaunay.
Delaunay said: ‘It is no longer enough to reiterate a commitment to access to care and treatment ‘ to maternal and child health, to the global AIDS fight. Unless alternative funding models are put in place to guarantee long-term and sufficient funding, countries will continue to be limited and these stated commitments will be nothing but rhetoric.’
UNITAID already uses a model to fund HIV/AIDS treatment programmes through airfare taxes.
The International Monetary Fund recently acknowledged the feasibility of transactional taxes. South Africa, Brazil, Britain and India among others have announced intentions to propose a tax on international currency transactions to raise funds for aid.