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Minister of State Michael Kitt announces new partnership to fight killer diseases; AIDS, TB and Malaria

13 January 2010

AIDS, TB and Malaria kill six million people a year

Minister of State Michael Kitt, T.D. has announced that Irish Aid has signed a new three year partnership with the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Minister of State Kitt made the announcement following a meeting in Dublin with the Executive Director of the Global Fund, Professor Michel Kazatchkine. The Global Fund is a global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Speaking following their meeting, the Minister of State said:

“These three diseases entrench poverty and hold back economic and social development. In just over six years the Global Fund has become a leading force in the fight against these killer diseases. Ireland is proud to be a partner with the Global Fund. It is estimated that the Global Fund has saved over 2 million lives to date.” Professor Kazatchkine added:

"Ireland and the Global Fund have a close collaboration. By drawing up a three-year partnership strategy and backing it with a three-year financial pledge, Ireland’s commitment goes far beyond the financial contribution. It lays the foundation for enhancing the effectiveness both of Irish bilateral aid and Global Fund grants by aligning our work both on a global and country level. "

Irish Aid’s priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa are badly affected by these three diseases and are benefiting from the resources of the Global Fund. Over this three year partnership, the Government will provide €90 million to support the work of the Global Fund in these and other badly affected countries. For example, Lesotho, with an adult HIV prevalence rate of 23%, is the third worst affected country in the world, and has the highest proportion of children orphaned as a result of AIDS. With Global Fund support the Government of Lesotho is providing a basic package of care, support and protection for vulnerable children including ensuring access to education and health care.

Note to editors:
Ireland has been working with the Global Fund since its establishment in 2002. This new agreement provides for a three year partnership focusing on both global and country action to prevent, treat and care for those infected and affected by HIV, TB and Malaria. Ireland is particularly concerned that the Global Fund meets the needs of the most affected countries and that those most vulnerable to the three diseases including women and children, can access more and better services.

The need to tackle communicable diseases in developing countries has never been greater. These diseases account for the major burden of disease, especially among women and children, and Africa is most affected. HIV and AIDS is the biggest single threat to development today. There are over 33 million people infected with HIV and over 2 million die annually from AIDS. In addition there is a resurgence of ‘old’ diseases such as TB and malaria. Malaria now kills over one million people every year, more than it did three decades ago. The increase in TB is mainly as a consequence of HIV infection, and accounts for 2 million deaths annually.

Ireland has made the fight against HIV and AIDS and other communicable diseases a core priority of the Irish Aid programme. It has significantly increased its financial commitment, with €100 million, or 10% of the total overseas development budget, being spent every year on addressing these diseases.