WHO welcomes US pledge towards HIV/AIDS health fund

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland welcomed the announcement by the United States government to contribute 200 million US dollars to a global HIV/AIDS and health fund aimed at fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
President George W.
Bush announced the US contribution when Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo paid him a visit in Washington D.
C.
last week.
Addressing the World Health Assembly Monday in Geneva, Dr Bruntland said that in announcing the US contribution, "the President of the United States signalled the importance of global health, and the importance of working with the United Nations as a partner.
" The WHA brings together health ministers from WHO's 191 Member States.
"The U.
S.
has a key role to play in the UN and in the betterment of world health," she said in the speech, exerpts of which were received by PANA in Dakar.
WHO estimates that as much as 7 billion US dollars are needed from all sources annually to combat AIDS in low and middle income countries for an effective response to the epidemic.
Another 3 billion dollars would be needed annually to drastically reduce the impact of tuberculosis and malaria.
WHO anticipates that Bush's announcement will give significant momentum to the development of the fund.
The US announcement is particularly welcome in the run-up to both the United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS, to be held in New York from 25-27 June, and to the summit of the G-8 group of countries, scheduled for Genoa, Italy, in July this year.
By the end of 2000, 36.
1 million people were living with HIV or AIDS, and 21.
8 million had died since the start of the epidemic.
In 2000 alone, 3 million people died of AIDS-related causes and 5.
3 million were newly-infected.
More than 500 million people are affected by malaria and one million people - mainly children - die each year from the disease.
Around 8 million people become sick with tuberculosis each year.
It kills about 2 million people each year, says a WHO news release.

15 may 2001 10:11:00




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