04 June 2008
Ljubljana – The Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Dr Michel Kazatchkine today met with President Danilo Türk of Slovenia at the Presidential Palace in Ljubljana.
At the meeting, Dr Kazatchkine complimented Slovenia for its leadership shown while holding the Presidency of the European Union and for keeping global health as a key item on the EU agenda.
The Global Fund’s Executive Director also discussed with President Türk how Slovenia can continue and strengthen its support in the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Slovenia has so far contributed close to US$ 75,000 to the Global Fund.
This evening, Dr Kazatchkine will travel to Brussels to speak at a dinner, hosted by the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (under the Slovenian presidency), bringing together the highest authorities for development cooperation in the 27 EU member states and the European Commission. The European Commission and and the EU member states have so far together provided around sixty percent of all resources available to the Global Fund.
“The political and financial support by the European Union for the Global Fund shown to date is extremely important, especially for the millions of people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria,” said Dr Kazatchkine. “Better health is a foundation for prosperity, contributes to social stability and is key to reducing poverty. I hope we can continue to count on the strong support from the European Union.”
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established in 2002 with the support of then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the world's leaders, to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases which still claim the lives of six million people annually. With approved funding of US$ 10.7 billion for more than 550 programs in 136 countries, its reach is truly global. So far, programs supported by the Global Fund have averted more than 2 million deaths by providing AIDS treatment for 1.4 million people, TB treatment for 3.3 million people, and by distributing 46 million insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria worldwide.
In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Global Fund is currently supporting programs in 22 countries with a total commitment of more than US$ 800 million. The region has an emerging and concentrated HIV epidemic, especially among vulnerable populations like injecting drug users and commercial sex workers. People whose immune systems are compromised with HIV are many times more susceptible to contracting tuberculosis; another disease that continues to claim the lives of many people living in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Especially TB drug resistance is an urgent public health issue for countries in the region.