MDGs summit to provide fresh impetus for development, health

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- As the global fight against killer diseases of AIDS, ma laria and tuberculosis intensifies, government leaders from around the world are expected to renew their commitment to development and health at the Millenni um Development Goals (MDGs) summit to be held on 5 October 2010, chief executives of UN agencies spearheading the fight said here Monday.
''We need to bring to the summit the concept of shared responsibility because no country can deal with emerging global issues, especially those concerning peopl e 's health, alone,'' UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe told journalists, warni ng that reduction in HIV investments would hurt the worldwide response to bring new infections under control.
Meanwhile, Michel Kazakstine, Executive Director of Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, said he had been impressed to see African heads of state and government discussing issues of health at the ongoing 15th session of the Assemb ly of the African Union, whereas there are other pressing issue facing the conti n ent.
''From this summit, we expect support on efforts to eliminate mother-to-child HI V transmission,'' said Kazakstine, noting that maternal and child health had gai n ed tremendous momentum in Africa this year.
On the combined fight against the three diseases to which the Global Fund provid es resources, he said: ''We are working not to de-link anything.
You cannot de-l i nk antenatal services with counselling and testing.
Women and children are central in promoting health care.
'' According to Sidibe, political leadership in fighting these diseases is of param ount importance in every country though, for the first time, his agency was expe r iencing a reduction of funding due to the global economic and financial crisis.
He said the gap in global funding with regard to HIV is huge -- about US$26 bill ion -- and, of this amount, only US$16 billion has been mobilised this year.
''To make sure that all programmes on prevention, counselling and treatment are fully funded we need, at least, US$10 billion more.
We are moving from a period o f abundance to a period of austerity.
We hope that we'll be back to a normal situa tion after the economy of most of the donor countries recovers,'' Sidibe added.
Resources at the disposal of UNAIDS are also used to strengthen governance in he alth, to raise laboratory capacity, to increase the health care workforce and t o scale up innovations such as shifting and use of non-physician clinicians.
If international funding is reduced or is not matched with by recipient country contributions, a UNAIDS official here told PANA that it was very likely that AID S funding in over 100 countries would be in jeopardy.
''Without sustained investments, treatment and prevention gains will be reversed and the toll on AIDS-related deaths and new infections will rise,'' the officia l added.

26 july 2010 10:04:00




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