NEW YORK, USA, 10 February 2011 – Every year, some 8 million young children die of mainly preventable causes. An important means of averting these unacceptable deaths – through UNICEF’s collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – was the subject of a special focus session during yesterday’s Executive Board meeting at UN headquarters in New York.
|VIDEO: 9 February 2011 - Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria talks about sustainability and health at the first regular session of the 2011 UNICEF Executive Board. Watch in RealPlayer|
The panel, which took place on the second day of the Executive Board’s first regular session of 2011, featured a detailed presentation by Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine outlining the Fund’s extensive cooperation with UNICEF. An extended discussion among Mr. Kazatchkine, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and Executive Board delegates followed.
“The Global Fund and UNICEF are natural, and I would even say inevitable, partners,” said Mr. Lake. He went on to cite the “staggering” level of Global Fund support for child and maternal health initiatives worldwide.
“The collaboration between the Global Fund and UNICEF is remarkable, and it is intensifying,” added Mr. Kazatchkine. As “a financial instrument, not an implementing entity,” he said, the Global Fund complements the efforts of UNICEF and others working toward achievement of the health-related Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, by 2015.
|8 February 2010 -- Her Excellency Sanja Štiglic, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the UN and newly elected President of the UNICEF Executive Board, discusses objectives for 2011 on the road to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Watch in RealPlayer|
As Mr. Kazatchkine reported to the Executive Board, donors have pledged more than $30 billion since the creation of the Global Fund in 2002. To date, the Fund has approved almost $22 billion in grants for more than 800 programmes in 140 nations. Country-led health initiatives financed by the Global Fund have provided AIDS treatment for 3 million people and anti-tuberculosis treatment for 7.7 million, and have distributed 160 million insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria.
Through close coordination with governments and a wide range of other stakeholders – including UNICEF – these initiatives aim to ensure integrated services, affordable packages of life-saving interventions and strong national health systems.
Health goals within reach
Mr. Lake emphasized the vital role that country ownership plays in the design and implementation of sustainable health programmes. “It is not only a desirable thing, it is a necessary thing,” he said. Mr. Kazatchkine agreed, crediting the implementing countries as “hugely responsible” for successes attained with support from the Global Fund.
|© UNICEF video|
|Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (left) joins UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on the dais at the UNICEF Executive Board's first regular session of 2011.|
As a result of this inclusive, results-oriented approach, two key goals are now within reach: the elimination of malaria as a public health problem in the most malaria-endemic countries, and the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
“Something that was a dream just six years ago is now achievable,” Mr. Kazatchkine asserted, referring to the progress on mother-to-child transmission. Malaria prevention is “another example of partnership in action,” he said, with bed net distribution just 20 million nets short of universal coverage in the developing world.
Partnerships and emergencies
In other business yesterday, the Executive Board was also briefed on UNICEF’s 2011 workplan and proposed budget for private-sector fundraising and partnerships, and on the roadmap to an integrated budget with the UN Development Programme and the UN Population Fund.
|Delegates from Sweden confer during this week's first regular session of the 2011 UNICEF Executive Board, held at UN headquarters in New York.|
The meeting ended with a briefing by Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. Johnson on UNICEF’s response to recent humanitarian emergencies. Ms. Johnson pointed to an extraordinary convergence of high-intensity natural disasters and other complex crises that affected children in 2010, including the devastating earthquake and cholera outbreak in Haiti and massive floods in Pakistan.
UNICEF responded to 290 humanitarian situations in 98 countries overall last year, she said, noting that all emergencies have a disproportionate impact on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
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