EUROPEAN COMMISSION, WHO AND UNAIDS TAKE A UNITED STAND AGAINST KILLER
Today the European Commission, the World Health Organisation and the
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS announce a common stand against the epidemics
of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in the developing world. The Commission is convening
a high level Round Table in Brussels, co-sponsored by WHO and UNAIDS, as a first step in
designing a new programme of action for the EU to help developing countries to confront
the growing epidemics of these three diseases and break the cycle of disease and poverty.
At their recent meeting in Okinawa, the G8 leaders made a commitment to
intensifying the international community's response to HIV/AIDS, malaria and
tuberculosis. Success will require new partnerships, more resources and new approaches to
addressing disease and poverty reduction. The Commission, the World Health Organisation
and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS are determined to play a major role in
"We in Europe can all too easily forget that good health and
wellbeing are not the norm for most people in this world. Developing countries, where most
poor people live, are suffering under the double burden of poverty combined with an
explosion in three communicable diseases; HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. One of these
diseases - malaria - we thought we had come near to eradicating in some parts of the
developing world. Another, HIV/AIDS, has only more recently emerged as a major killer.
Associated with AIDS, tuberculosis is killing more poor people than ever before. I want to
see the EU playing a larger and more effective role in assisting developing countries to
confront these epidemics," said the President of the Commission, Mr Romano Prodi.
"The landscape in which we work is changing. We meet in Brussels
at a time of unprecedented international support for reducing poverty. And at a time when
health takes its rightful place at centre stage in the development arena. We have always
known that poor people suffer disproportionately from the ravages of communicable
diseases. But we now know that HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis are themselves major
causes of poverty. The success or failure of our collective response to these threats
holds the key to the economic security not just of individuals and communities
but of nations and continents," said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland,
Director-General of the World Health Organisation.
"The HIV/AIDS epidemic presents us with challenges quite unlike
any other. It threatens to undermine decades of hard-won development, not only in health,
but in education, economic progress and human rights. Indeed, it has become a fully
fledged development crisis, that faces us all. I therefore applaud the Commission on this
new initiative which puts HIV, along with malaria and TB, at the heart of the strategy to
address poverty. UNAIDS and its Cosponsors stand ready to work with the Commission in
every way to make this new venture a success," added Dr. Peter Piot, Executive
Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
Last week, the Commission adopted a new policy framework on accelerated
action targeted at these three communicable diseases in the context of poverty reduction.
The policy framework describes a coherent set of approaches the Commission will take to
improve the impact of existing interventions, increase the affordability of drugs and
products to prevent and treat these diseases, and increase investment in research to find
new solutions, such as vaccines for malaria and HIV/AIDS.
This policy framework provides the basis for the discussions at the
international Round Table. High level representatives from more than twenty five
developing countries, leaders of industry, research agencies and NGOs, will consult with
President Prodi, Commissioner Poul Nielson, five other Commissioners and WHO and UNAIDS to
design a programme of action to reduce the health and economic impacts of these three
diseases and help millions of families in the developing world break the cycle of poverty
Mr Poul Nielson, Commissioner for Development Co-operation and
Humanitarian Aid, is responsible for the organisation of the Round Table. "Whilst
continuing our support for national health systems, the Commission will seek to expand
access by the poor to the means of protecting themselves from infection with HIV/AIDS,
malaria and tuberculosis, improve the affordability of diagnosis and care for these
diseases, and move investment in priority research increasingly towards finding long term
solutions, such as a vaccine to prevent AIDS. Prevention amongst the youth and information
are also priorities," said Commissioner Nielson.
The Round Table will be opened by the Commission's President, Mr.
Romano Prodi, the Honourable Dr. Pascoal Mocumbi, Prime Minister of Mozambique, Dr. Gro
Harlem Brundtland, Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Peter Piot,
Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. Commissioners Poul
Nielson (Development and Humanitarian Aid), Philippe Busquin (Research), David Byrne
(Health and Consumer Protection), and Pascal Lamy (Trade), will discuss the orientations
of the Commission's intended actions. Representatives from the Governments of Brazil,
India, Senegal, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia will also speak. The French Presidency of the
EU will be represented by Mr. Charles Josselin, Ministre délégué chargé de la
Coopération et de la Francophonie, who will close the meeting.
The Commission hopes that the round table will be an important step in
the process of mapping out a sizeable long term programme of action for the Commission to
support in tackling poverty and HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The President of the
Commission intends to announce the programme, and the resources which will be allocated to
it, at the forthcoming December follow-up consultation to the Okinawa G8 meeting.
For further information please contact Gregory Hartl, WHO
Spokesperson, Geneva, telephone: (+41 22) 791 4458, fax:
(+41 22) 791 4858. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
All WHO Press Releases, Fact Sheets and Features can be obtained on Internet on the WHO
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