Fréchette says scaling up AIDS treatments runs into developing country roadblocks

15 March 2005

More assistance is needed in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic and new ways must be found to compensate for the lack of trained people and the inadequate health infrastructure in many countries, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said today.

Addressing the replenishment conference in Stockholm, Sweden, of the three-year-old, UN-sponsored Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Ms. Fréchette said the gathering would meet an urgent need.

"The Fund must have long-term, sustainable sources of finance," she said.

The replenishment meeting "will help donors make multi-year commitments and pledges and it will help the Fund do the longer-term planning which it must do if it is to fulfil its central mandate as a channel bringing in additional resources from all over the world to support country programmes which are tackling AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria," she added.

Almost $900 million have been granted to more than 100 countries, Ms. Fréchette said.

As the efforts to fight the diseases intensified, however, the same constraints intervened, she said.

"Lack of qualified people and the general weakness of health systems in many countries are just two examples," she added.

To promote national accountability in those circumstances, the Fund was using principles known as the "Three Ones." The recipient country should have one HIV/AIDS action framework, one national coordinating authority "with broad-based multi-sectoral mandate," and one national-level monitoring and evaluation system, she said.

The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), meanwhile, was prepared to help the Fund with "an Early Warning System that would identify bottleneck and gaps in the capacity of recipient countries," before the problems put further funding at risk, Ms. Fréchette said.

She noted that the funding for AIDS programmes totalled $6 billion a year at a time when UNAIDS had estimated the amount needed by 2008 at $20 billion.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was looking forward to chairing the replenishment conference in September, she added.


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