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Annan Launches Unitaid

Annan Launches Unitaid To Help The Global Fight Against Hiv/Aids And Other Diseases

New York, Sep 19 2006 7:00PM

Describing it as a “life-saving initiative”, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today officially launched UNITAID, an international drug purchasing facility that will provide medicine and treatment against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis for the poorest people of developing countries who otherwise could not afford them.

“UNITAID can use its purchasing power to leverage price reductions for quality drugs and diagnostics, and accelerate the pace at which they are made available. It can provide a stable and continuous source of financing for health care programmes, particularly in low-income countries,” said Mr. Annan at the launch in New York.

“And it can help reassure developing countries of the long-term commitment of the international community. In this way, UNITAID provides a real and immediate tool to help scale up access to treatment for HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB.”

UNITAID will be funded by innovative financing mechanisms such as a contribution on air tickets, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said today, and the Secretary-General congratulated the Governments of France, Brazil, Chile, Norway, and the United Kingdom for leading the way in developing the initiative.

“UNITAID is deeply encouraging news in the world of financing for development. This international facility for the purchase of drugs is a shining example of an innovative source of funding that can help us reach the Millennium Development Goals.”

“I hope this new facility will apply all the important lessons we have learnt over the past few decades. I hope it will avoid duplication, by making full use of existing institutions and development partners. I hope it will build on existing national capacity. And I hope it will listen to and take full account of the real needs ofᾠthose it exists to help.

Mr. Annan said the UN system stands ready to help UNITAID succeed in “any way we can,” and he also thanked WHO, UNICEF (the UN Children’s Fund), and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for their involvement.

Ends

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