The World Health Organization (WHO) is surprised by the statements made
by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) over the past two days in relation to the Massive
Effort advocacy forum being held in Winterthur.
Massive Effort is primarily concerned with changing the lives of poor
people through concerted action to tackle three critical communicable diseases.
To do this effectively requires action at several levels. First, it is
essential to make sure that people have better access to existing services, commodities
and information as close to their homes as possible. Programmes for HIV, malaria or
TB cannot be allowed to fail through a lack of basic supplies.
It is equally clear that action at country level alone is insufficient.
Massive Effort must necessarily include work on global enabling actions which will make
existing drugs and vaccines more widely available to poor people and development of new
drugs and vaccines.
These enabling actions include: work to drastically reduce prices of
existing essential drugs, and to create incentives for research and development on new
products needed to combat the diseases which cause and perpetuate poverty.
There has already been substantial movement internationally on all
these issues most recently in the recent statements of the European Commission.
Work on affordability and research and development (R&D) is also a central part of
WHO's on-going agenda.
We are working on a broad and long term agenda. The problems to be
tackled are complex and deep-seated. A step increase in the resources needed from
governments and agencies is required. Policy messages need to reflect these realities and
not create unrealistic expectations.
In its statements, MSF is concerned that Massive Effort does not take
on board issues relating to prices and research. In fact their suggestions actually echo
proposals and ideas that WHO has repeatedly stated. Massive Effort is still in the process
of being articulated and designed, and we welcome MSF's constructive contributions to