New York, US (PANA) - The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Wednesday said that the remarkable progress achieved in the AIDS response must be sustained, but called for innovative sources of funding and continued support for the Global Fund that helps countries achieve their targets in this field.
In a statement, made available to PANA in New York, UNAIDS also hailed the achievements of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria since it was established 10 years ago.
``The organization has made a profound difference in saving millions of lives around the world. It has created momentum and helped countries achieve results,” it stated, noting that the Fund had approved more than US$ 22.6 billion in grants to 150 countries over the past decade.
The statement disclosed that the grants provided by the Fund were helping countries provide 3.3 million people access to HIV treatment, and the facility had ensured that
more than one million pregnant women living with HIV have had access to antiretroviral drugs to prevent the transmission of HIV to their children.
``UNAIDS is confident that in the Global Fund’s transition phase, its transformation plan will help deliver further results,” the agency stated, pledging to continue to work in partnership with countries and with the Global Fund to reduce risks and ensure more high-impact programmes.
``The remarkable progress achieved in the AIDS response must be sustained and accelerated,” it stressed.
It also urged the international community to urgently explore innovative sources of funding to bridge the gap in global resources for AIDS.
UNAIDS also called on countries to revise and reprioritize AIDS investments as well as national AIDS strategies to boost the fight against the scourge.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Michel Kazatchkine, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, announced his decision to step down from his post by 16 March.
"As the Global Fund faces a challenging year of transition, it is more important than ever that staff, partners, donors, implementers, friends and supporters of the Fund pull together to maintain the remarkable hope that the Fund has generated around the world, and to keep up the fight,” he said in a brief statement.
PANA recalled that last month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon led a chorus of UN officials in calling for the political will, investments and determination to end the AIDS epidemic, which has now entered its fourth decade.
"Momentum is on our side. Let us use it to end AIDS – once and for all,'' Ban said in his message on World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December each year.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé had also called on countries, donors and others to reach the global investment target of US$ 22 billion - US$ 24 billion for the AIDS response, stating that, ``only together can we secure the future and provide greater and long-term dividends''.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 25Jan2012