We have known for years that poor people tend to die young. The
poorest billion in our world are particularly vulnerable as a result of
infectious diseases - notably HIV, TB and malaria. Each death can be
avoided with low cost technologies that are available today.
We have also known for years that poor people stay poor if they are
sick. Children cannot learn, adults cannot earn. Household savings are
used up in the search for cure. Poor households suffer - terribly - when
an adult dies young.
Developing societies cannot prosper unless their people are healthy.
What would Africa's GDP be now if malaria had been tackled thirty years
ago, when effective control measures first became available? $100
billion greater than it is now. What will happen to the economies of
developing nations severely affected by HIV? A decline in GDP of at
least 1% per year.
Infectious diseases can be tamed with the technologies available now.
Some developing countries have been able to reduce the incidence of HIV
by 80%, to achieve a five-fold reduction in TB deaths or to halve
malaria death rates. Their leaders have encouraged widespread provision
of low cost goods and services to prevent, as well as cure, disease.
Their governments have rewarded creativity and excellence in disease
In Abuja, Lomé, New York and Geneva, Heads of State of developing
countries have declared that all their people should be able to avoid
suffering and deaths due to infectious diseases. They have pledged
better access to a set of inexpensive and cost-effective interventions.
Implementing this pledge is hard for Governments with low budgets for
health care - less than, say, $50 per person each year. A substantial
increase in development assistance is necessary, including debt relief
funds when they become available.
WHO and partner agencies have worked with developing country
governments on a new framework for concerted action. It is the start of
a massive effort against HIV, malaria and TB - the infectious diseases
that sustain poverty.
- Within countries, new mechanisms for responding to infectious disease
concentrate on better health outcomes among the most vulnerable. They go
beyond the public health system, catalysing extra action through
community and private channels.
- Innovative partnerships bring together public, private and voluntary
organisations. Social Marketing gets goods to those who need them
through private channels. Service quality is sustained through tightly
managed franchises. Community groups and NGOs are enabled to respond to
poor people's needs with support from social funds.
- And, financial support for service providers reflects their
performance and transparency. It is backed up by accountability - to the
people served as well as to funding bodies
At the global level, we offer incentives for research and development
of cost effective therapies and vaccines. We work for the better
application of important agreements on international trade and
intellectual property, taking account of poor people's urgent public
health needs. And we are gearing up for strong global advocacy,
highlighting the targets that we need to achieve over the next decade.
We know what needs to be done to tackle infectious diseases, and how
to intensify action against HIV, malaria and TB. We now have a framework
to link actions together and yield results. We are committed to work
with you to make a big difference in the next decade.