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“David Cameron deserves ever more credit for sticking to his guns in the face of an onslaught by critics,” says actor Bill Nighy. “As long as the UK keeps its promises, it makes it harder for leaders in other developed countries to explain why they can’t deliver on theirs.”

Recently returned from Malawi, Nighy had met with recipients of aid and saw for himself what 23 pence per day can deliver. In the case of many, it’s life.

In an op-ed in The Independent, Nighy wrote, "Enoch, a farmer in his 60s who was diagnosed with HIV 10 years ago, told me, ‘If you’d seen me three years ago, you wouldn’t think I was the same person. I was very sick, I couldn’t stand up. I’m alive today because of the medication I receive.’ Mara Banda told me, quietly and simply, that she would be dead today if it were not for the medicines paid for by our aid.

“Five years ago, virtually no one could access these medicines and HIV/Aids was a death sentence. The Global Fund has been a modern-day miracle, using aid money to get nearly four million on to life-saving medicines. But the Global Fund can barely afford to keep funding existing treatments. Enoch is lucky he did not fall ill this year – the Global Fund has no money for new patients."

Nighy says despite government agreements that by 2010 everyone would have HIV medicines paid for, about seven million people, mostly children, do not, two years after the mark.

“I choose not to listen to the armchair cynics, whose philosophical opposition to aid bewilders me,” he says. “650,000 Malawians with HIV don’t get the medicines they need. We can and should be helping more people like them.”

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