Today, the change for the better is astonishing: [Nigerian Doctor John] Idoko now treats nearly 6,000 HIV-positive patients. He has expanded his clinic three times in five years, and his waiting room once again is too crowded. ``Now, we are eyeing an abandoned building nearby," he said last week, chuckling.
The major reason for Idoko's success is the Bush administration's AIDS program, which in the last three years has sent billions of dollars to Africa and helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. When I moved to Africa three years ago, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, was just getting off the ground. As I return to Washington this month, the $15 billion program is just hitting its stride, and many Africans believe it has become the single most effective initiative in fighting the deadly scourge.
As with anything touched by the US in general or the Bush administration in particular, even success is no guard against controversy. We've got a program that sure as hell seems to work, but since it works for the "wrong" reasons and in the "wrong" ways, it is of course therefore wrong.