Global perspective Human stories

UN agencies welcome Winterthur donation to Global AIDS and Health Fund

UN agencies welcome Winterthur donation to Global AIDS and Health Fund

United Nations agencies today welcomed the announcement of a $1 million donation to the Global AIDS and Health Fund by Winterthur Insurance, a Credit Suisse Group company.

"We commend Winterthur for being the first private company to commit needed resources in the fight against AIDS to the Global Fund," said Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). "The Fund presents a new opportunity for the private sector to channel major contributions to the global campaign against AIDS," he added.

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), also welcomed the fact that "the private sector is now beginning to mobilize its support for this new initiative to control AIDS, TB and malaria," noting that, "it makes good economic sense to invest in the health of developing countries."

WHO expressed hope that other corporations would follow suit in responding to calls made by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and others seeking financial support for the global fight against infectious disease. "Given the enormous threat these diseases pose to global health, productivity and security, contributions to this Fund will increasingly come to be seen as a way of showing global corporate responsibility," said Dr. Brundtland.

Meanwhile, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced on Thursday that it would work with the United States Centers for Disease Control and the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre to address the AIDS epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean. PAHO, the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), estimates that in the Americas, one out of every 200 people aged 15-49 is infected with HIV, while in the Caribbean, one in 50 people is HIV-positive.

"Combating the epidemic in the region requires focusing on prevention and treatment, and maintaining the dignity of people already infected and living with HIV/AIDS, as well as improving their access to quality, humane care and treatment," said PAHO Director Dr. George Alleyne.