ECOWAS Health ministers discuss Global Fund on AIDS, TB, Malaria

Harare- Zimbabwe (PANA) -- Health Ministers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met in Harare Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing 52nd session of WHO Regional Committee for Africa to discuss health problems plaguing the sub-region.
The Director General of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Kabba Joiner, told the ministers that the Burkina Faso- based organisation has requested US$18 million per year on behalf of the sub-region from the Global Fund for the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, for the 2003-5 period.
The fund, created last year, has some US$1.
5 billion to be disbursed to needy countries.
He said WAHO was expecting a positive response to its request, focusing on strategic framework of advocacy, political commitment, infrastructural support, quality control of anti-AIDS drugs and sustainable training.
Other elements include bulk purchase of drugs, transfer of technology, local production of drugs and effective treatment with anti-retroviral drugs.
On the possible duplication of requests, Joiner explained that the Global Fund was being disbursed to sub-regions, as well as to countries and NGOs.
Africa harbours more than 28 million HIV/AIDS cases, or 70 percent of the global total, while more than one million people, especially children and pregnant women, die each year on the continent from malaria.
The meeting, chaired by Senegalese Health Minister Awa Marie Coll-Seck, expressed concern over the allegation by some multinational drug firms that some African countries were reselling anti-AIDS drugs supplied to them.
The ECOWAS ministers recommended that the import of anti-AIDS drugs should be streamlined through effective monitoring, while the "trafficking" allegation should be investigated.
WAHO co-ordinates health issues in the West African sub-region, home of the 15-nation economic grouping ECOWAS, currently chaired by Senegal.

10 october 2002 12:37:00




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