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Expansion in Fight against AIDS, TB, Malaria

UN-Backed Global Fund Reports Expansion in Fight Against AIDS, TB, Malaria

New York, Jun 29 2005 10:00AM

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a unique global public-private partnership created three years ago on the initiative of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, today reported a rapid expansion in treatment and other services over the past six months.

Fund-financed programmes supported 90,000 new people on antiretroviral treatment for AIDS, bringing to 220,000 the total now benefiting from programmes, 215,000 more people were provided with tuberculosis treatment, bringing the total to 600,000, and a further 1.55 million bed nets to help prevent malaria were distributed or re-impregnated, more than doubling the total number of nets to 3.1 million.

“It is extremely impressive that health programmes deliver such substantial results just out of the starting gates,” Global Fund Executive Director Richard Feachem said. “The dedication and commitment to results in the large majority of the programmes we support is very encouraging, and we are optimistic that these programs will continue to meet or exceed their targets in the coming years.”

These results could not have been achieved without substantial technical assistance from the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the UN World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Development Program (UNDP) and a number of other partners, the Fund said.

The scale-up of AIDS treatment in particular is a collaborative effort, where donors, international organizations and non-governmental organizations all play supporting roles in national campaigns in many countries to provide treatment - often under extremely difficult circumstances.

The Fund has so far committed $3.5 billion to over 300 programmes in 127 countries. Around 60 per cent of this funding has gone to Africa, and 55 percent to fighting HIV/AIDS. Around half of the funding is being spent on medicines, mosquito nets to prevent malaria and other products, while the other half is for strengthening health services.

To date, $1.3 billion has been disbursed. The programmes are on track to meet combined targets over five years of 1.6 million people on AIDS treatment and 3.5 million people treated for TB, though they are slightly behind schedule in the goal of distributing 108 million bed nets.

Fund-supported HIV/AIDS programmes aim to build up a long-term, sustainable effort to halt and reverse the pandemic in the countries hardest hit and prevent its growth in countries still in the early stages. Resources from the Global Fund therefore go to a wide range of activities, from training and infrastructure strengthening in order to expand treatment and care to large-scale prevention programs and expansion of testing and counseling.

“We are seeing a revolution in providing AIDS treatment for those who need it,” Mr. Feachem said. “The scale-up of treatment is moving fast and we can now be hopeful that universal access to treatment will become a reality before the end of the decade.

This would not have happened without the bold leadership by the World Health Organization, which has engaged the world and committed us all to doing our best through the 3x5 campaign,” he added, referring to WHO programme to treat 3 million HIV-infected people by 2005.

ENDS

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