Aust aids region fight big killers

National, Normal

PAPUA New Guinea is among Asia-Pacific countries which will benefit from increased funding support from Australia to reduce sicknesses and deaths from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.
Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd announced on Wednesday that Australia would commit $210 million (K525 million) over three years (2011-13) to support the critical work of the Global Fund in tackling these diseases.
“We are committed to helping developing countries, particularly in the Asia Pacific in their fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,” he said said in media statement.
The Global Fund is a critical player in combating the three deadly diseases, providing a quarter of all international financing for HIV/AIDS and two-thirds for TB and malaria.
“Australia’s new pledge is a 55% increase on our previous three year pledge and demonstrates our confidence in the ongoing success of the Global Fund in the prevention and treatment of these three diseases,” Rudd added.
He said there was an estimated 33 million people living with HIV/AIDS globally and while the number of new infections was declining, it was critical that the international community continued to sustain a focus on preventing and ultimately eliminating this devastating virus.
“Malaria continued to put half the world’s population at risk, with 62% of malaria cases outside of Africa occurring here on our doorstep, in the Asia-Pacific,” Rudd said.
He said that Asia also continued to grapple with the spread of TB, with Indonesia ranking as third in the world for its overall TB burden.
“More importantly, Australia’s bilateral aid programs support countries in the development and implementation of their own health strategies in tackling the three diseases, complementing the work of the Global Fund”.
Australia previously committed support to the Global Fund of $135 million (K337 million) from 2008-20110 and $75 million (K187.5 million) from 2004-2007.