The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced it will donate 500 million US dollars (R3.5 billion) over the next five years to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
THE world continues to lose an ugly battle to HIV/AIDS that shows no sign of letting up after 25 million people have died a quarter of a century into the epidemic.
Abuja - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday inaugurated the African Centre for HIV and AIDS Management (ACHAM) as part of activities marking a summit of African leaders on malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and AIDS.
The UNAIDS/WHO annual AIDS Epidemic Update for 2005 was launched by Dr. Peter Piot in Delhi, India.
South Korean Jong Wook Lee was elected on Tuesday to replace Norway's Gro-Harlem Brundtland at the helm of the World Health Organisation (WHO), pledging to put Africa at the top of the UN health agency's agenda. He has also pledged to decentralise the Geneva-based WHO and turn it into a results-based operation. With 19 years experience at the organisation, most recently as head of the 'Stop TB' (tuberculosis) programme, Lee told reporters that it was a great honour and very humbling to be chosen. He secured 17 votes against 15 votes for his main rival, the Belgian head of the UN's programme against HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Peter Piot, WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters. Clearly Africa should be the priority, and Africa is the priority, especially for HIV/AIDS, Lee told reporters, adding that WHO was committed to achieving the eight development goals adopted by the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 aimed at eradicating hunger, poverty and disease. The 192 member states will now have to approve the choice of director-general at the May 19-28 World Health Assembly, though it has so far never rejected the executive board's nomination, Chaib said. Lee will be the WHO's sixth director general. Previous incumbents since the UN health agency was set up in 1948 have come from Canada, Brazil, Denmark and Japan. (Source: SAPA-AFP, 28 January 2003)
The United Nations (UN) has abandoned its policy of relying on governments to tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis in developing countries, saying it will now help fund corporate initiatives to provide antiretroviral drugs to sufferers. The decision may have big implications for SA, where, large mining companies have in the past few weeks announced that they intend rolling out their own AIDS programmes. It may also presage a situation in which the SA government, which is reluctant to concede to most prevailing orthodoxies about the pandemic, is simply bypassed by international agencies wishing to assist affected populations. It is also an acknowledgement that firms have the resources to find health solutions where governments and NGOs are failing. Peter Piot, executive director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, said at the World Summit on Sustainable Development yesterday that the $2bn UN Global Fund for the treatment of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, would consider supporting corporate programmes that offered antiretroviral treatment to employees and their dependants. (James Lamont, Tamar Kahn and Jonathan Katzenellenbogen: Business Day, 30 August 2002)
Three themes dominated the XIV International AIDS Conference in Barcelona this week: treatment, funding, and the impact of the epidemic on women. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Carol Bellamy told the conference that AIDS had a human face, and it was that of a young woman. Figures show that AIDS disproportionately affects women, especially in Africa. UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, said: The face of women has been put in full sight at this conference more than ever before and it demands a change of values in society and within families. But Lungie Mazibuko of South Africa's National Association of People living with HIV/AIDS is not yet convinced that any changes will happen. HIV positive women and members of the Women at Barcelona group on Friday took to the streets to demand action to address what has been for too long a silent pandemic among women. On Tuesday, US Health Secretary Tommy Thompson came in for a rough ride in Barcelona. He was shouted down by AIDS activists and prevented from addressing the conference. Waving placards saying Fund the Fund and chanting, Where is the 10 billion?, the activists expressed their frustration at the stinginess of developed countries such as the United States. So far, out of the US $10 billion required annually, only US $2.1 billion has been pledged to the Fund with US $700-800 million available for disbursement in 2002. The US $10 billion a year target would represent just 0.05 percent of the gross national product of the G8 countries, according to the AIDS coalition Act Up. Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director told the conference: Treatment is technically feasible in every part of the world. Even the lack of infrastructure is not an excuse … US $10 billion annually is all it will take for a minimum credible response to the epidemic. It is three times more than is available today. A number of presentations at the conference demonstrated that AIDS treatment campaigns are possible in poor communities. Yet funding and the political will – both local and international - remain major obstacles. The World Health Organisation (WHO) this week challenged the international community and called for three million people, mainly in Africa, to have access to antiretroviral (ARV) therapy by 2005. So far less than 30,000 Africans are on ARVs, yet UNAIDS warned that research suggested the disease was still in its early stages. Meanwhile, the first delivery date for the raft of promises made at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on AIDS last year is 2003. These include the integration of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support and impact mitigation priorities into the mainstream of development planning, including poverty eradication strategies and national budget allocations. The XV International Conference on AIDS will be held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2004. Bangkok will be a time of accountability, Piot said. We will know who has delivered on the first UNGASS promises (Source:Barcelona, 12 July (IRIN)
As long as people with HIV/AIDS were blamed and shunned, the epidemic would continue to flourish, Dr Peter Piot, head of the Joint UN Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) told the World Conference against Racism (WCAR) yesterday (WED). WCAR delegates have already agreed to a clause in the conference declaration noting deep concern that people infected and affected HIV/AIDS belong to groups vulnerable to discrimination which impedes their access to health care and medication. Piot said he was getting increasingly irritated by the many reports that documented how bad the HIV/AIDS pandemic was but which didn't pose any solutions. Strong leadership from national to community levels, particularly to support people with HIV to be open about their status, was crucial, he added. UNAIDS also launched a report yesterday on HIV/AIDS stigma in India and Uganda. While discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS was high in India, stigma in Uganda was declining as so many families had lost loved ones to AIDS. Ugandan healthcare workers and counsellors were also credited with helping to fight stigma by assisting people to accept their HIV status. (Source: Health-e, 6 September 2001)
The General Assembly approved an ambitious declaration Wednesday night outlining how the world should proceed in its fight against AIDS. Concluding its three-day special session on the pandemic, the world body also made a plea to nations and private industry alike to provide the billions of dollars needed to help pay for the mission. The Declaration of Commitment, as the document is known, while in no way enforceable by the international community, is nonetheless extraordinary in both its language and its tact. It views the AIDS problem as something far beyond a medical issue, framing it instead as a political, human rights and economic threat. It also addresses head-on issues like the role that the exploitation of poor women and discrimination has played in spreading H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. A key goal is a 25 percent reduction of H.I.V. infection among young men and women in the most affected countries by 2005. The declaration says that by 2003 countries should identify the factors in their area leading to the spread of AIDS and come up with specific targets for improving prevention. It also calls on them to develop national strategies for combating the spread of H.I.V. and to provide treatment for all those infected. The document says that by 2005 countries also need to increase access to male and female condoms, expand AIDS testing and counseling, ensure safe blood supplies and provide sterile equipment to drug users. Mr. Annan said the United Nations will follow up with countries to see if they are setting and meeting these goals, and will chastise them if they fail to do so. (Source: New York Times online, June 28, 2001)
Western Cape Health MEC Nick Koornhof is attempting to bypass the government and get the UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, the World Health Organisation and pharmaceutical companies to deal directly with him. However, UNAIDS has rebuffed his advances, saying they can deal, only with the national government.