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Cablegate: The Who Joins Gob to Fight Hiv/Aids, Tuberculosis,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS RANGOON 000945

SIPDIS

BANGKOK FOR MATTHEW FRIEDMAN, USAID AND BANGKOK ESTH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO SOCI PGOV EAID PHUM PREL BM NGO
SUBJECT: THE WHO JOINS GOB TO FIGHT HIV/AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS,
AND MALARIA IN BURMA

REF: A. RANGOON 0369
B. BANGKOK 5053

1. Summary: Dr. Jack Chow, Assistant Director-General for
the World Health Organization for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria (HTM), called on the COM on July 21 to discuss his
visit to Burma during which he met with the GOB Minister of
Health and other health officials, announced 92 million in
new funding for Burma to help combat the spread of HTM, and
discussed the WHO's "3 by 5" global initiative for combating
HIV/AIDS. End Summary.

2. WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Jack Chow (former U.S.
AIDS envoy) told the Chief of Mission on July 21 that earlier
in the week he had met with GOB Minister of Health Dr. Kyaw
Myint to announce that Burma is to receive a Global Fund
grant, totaling 92 million over the next 5 years, to combat
the three target diseases of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and
malaria. Chow commented that the GOB has made progress in
admitting that there is a serious HIV/AIDS problem in Burma
and that "now, no one denies AIDS exists here." Chow said
that Kyaw Myint welcomed international support to combat
HIV/AIDS, and the Health Minister also communicated how much
he had valued a 2003 CDC visit, adding that the GOB would
very much welcome another visit in the future.

3. According to Dr. Chow, the Health Minister said he was
"stunned and jealous" by the number of INGOs operating in
Thailand, which he had observed firsthand after attending the
International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, and indicated that
he was open to advice and support from such international
groups. (Note: in a previous conversation between COM and
MOFA Political Director General U Thaung Tun, the DG
expressed concerns that the President's Emergency Plan for
AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) would result in a "counter productive"
proliferation of NGOs in Burma, per ref A. End Note). Dr.
Chow opined that the minister's "rhetoric was ahead of his
(GOB) team," but said that support from the WHO would give
the minister a "deliverable" for fighting HTM, which would
help him garner support from his GOB counterparts.

4. Dr. Chow went on to discuss the WHO,s "3 by 5" treatment
target and said that part of the aid Burma receives will be
to implement this program, in conjunction with the greater
HTM program, to combat these three "global diseases of
poverty." According to Chow, there are plans in the works to
hold a signing ceremony in Rangoon to initiate the grant
agreement, possibly sometime in the next month, and he is
hopeful that Richard Feacham, Executive Director of The
Global Fund, will attend. Dr. Chow also hopes to return to
Rangoon for the initiation of the program. The grant to
Burma will be administered through the UNDP, which will be
the principle recipient and manager for the program.

6. Comment: The Minister of Health's positive response to
the WHO is encouraging in the fight against AIDS, as is the
substantial funding from the Global Fund. However,
infrastructure problems, a lack of proper medical facilities,
and lingering issues over confidential testing may hamper
efforts to treat patients. The WHO,s "3 by 5" program also
aims to strengthen health systems and technical assistance
in-country, a necessity in Burma with its meager health
facilities. The GOB's growing openness toward discussing
treatments and prevention for HIV/AIDS is also good sign,
particularly in a country where, until recently, condoms were
illegal and government denial made the disease all but
unmentionable. End Comment
Martinez

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