From the TUC

Robin Hood Tax could save lives say ‘doctors without borders’

20 Oct 2011, by in International

Respected medical humanitarian organisation Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) have issued a report today, Five Lives: How a Financial Transaction Tax Could Support Global Health. The report says that the draft EU directive for a financial transactions tax (FTT) could help save millions of lives if a percentage were allocated to global health – something the TUC supports. It tells five personal stories which show the transformative impact an FTT allocation to global health could have. The report looks at interventions that can prevent a child from becoming severely malnourished to begin with; protect children from deadly measles outbreaks; prevent a baby from acquiring HIV through childbirth; get people on life-saving tuberculosis treatment sooner; and save lives while dramatically reducing the spread of HIV through treatment. “It’s time global health got its bailout.” said Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Executive Director at MSF’s Access Campaign.

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 treatment.  This could have a dramatic impact for HIV in particular, as recent research shows that HIV treatment is also effective at preventing new infections, and funds will be needed if governments are able to meet their commitment to more than double the number of people on treatment within five years.
Sharonann Lynch, HIV/AIDS Policy Advisor for MSF’s Access Campaign, said:

“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. A financial transaction tax would give us the predictable and sustainable funding source that is needed now more than ever. There are funding gaps across global health that could be plugged with money from a financial transaction tax. It’s time to invest in real lives – real futures.”