Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
(MDG 6)

Unite for children. Unite against AIDS

© UNICEF/HQ05-1726/Cranston
In 2005, UNICEF and UNAIDS made a bold push to address children’s needs by launching the global campaign Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS. The Campaign is committed to moving the world closer to fulfilling Millennium Development Goal 6. With the sub-theme ‘Children, the missing face of AIDS’, it intends to raise awareness and money and provide a way for the very best medical, social and policy innovations related to care and prevention to be directed in the service of children.

Initiated by UNICEF’s National Committees, the Campaign demonstrates the benefits of engaging partners at every level, through concerted efforts in both developing and industrialized countries.

The Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS campaign is part of gathering worldwide momentum to counter the HIV/AIDS pandemic with funding and global support. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Bank and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief have all stepped up to fill financing gaps and streamline donation mechanisms. The combined efforts of the 10 UNAIDS co-sponsors and other partners have helped boost political leadership at the national level and expand community participation.

This reinvigorated leadership is crucial. The number of people living with HIV is at an all-time high, and women are increasingly more infected than men, with grave implications for their children.

Fighting malaria

Efforts to halt and reverse the incidence of malaria are part of meeting Goal 6 and would have a tremendous impact on child mortality in Africa, where malaria takes the lives of more than 800,000 children under five each year. 2005 saw notable increases in investments in malaria control, through the World Bank’s Global Strategy and Booster Program, the US Presidential Initiative: Fighting Malaria, Saving Lives in Africa, the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (funded by the Gates Foundation), and particularly through the Global Fund.

UNICEF – already the world’s leading procurer of mosquito nets – has emerged as a leader in developing effective distribution of highly subsidized nets at the local level. The World Malaria Report, issued in May 2005 by Roll Back Malaria, the World Health Organization and UNICEF, revealed increases in the number of nets sold or distributed in many African countries from 1999–2003.

Many countries are accelerating availability of insecticide-treated nets through integration with immunization and antenatal care services. Large-scale integrated campaigns were carried out in several countries in 2005 and are planned for more in 2006.

In another important milestone, by the end of 2005 artemisinin-containing combination therapy (ACT), one of the most effective malaria treatments, was adopted as first- or second-line treatment by 56 countries, over 30 of them in Africa.