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Former Prime Minister of Thailand leads the fight against HIV/AIDS

© UNICEF 2003
Anand Panyarachun, at UNICEF headquarters in New York, speaks at a briefing on his work to combat HIV/AIDs in Thailand.
NEW YORK, BANGKOK, 15 September 2003 -  At a ceremony today at UNICEF'S New York Headquarters, former Prime Minister of Thailand, Anand Panyarachun, received an award honouring his years of service to the children of Thailand.  UNICEF presented the award to Panyarachun at its Executive Board meeting.

On the occasion, UNICEF Executive Director, Carol Bellamy, described Panyarachun as an "outstanding statesman" and an example to the world as a true champion of children.

"On behalf of children not only in Thailand but around the world, UNICEF is proud to honour Khun Anand, a man who has devoted his life to improving the world for all, and to fighting for the rights of children to live in peace, good health and dignity," she said.

Panyarachun is credited with changing the direction of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Thailand, making the country a leader in this fight in the world.  Thailand offers the best example of a national response to fighting the disease. Without Mr. Anand’s leadership, Thailand would be looking at 10 million HIV infections by 2010; current estimates now are at 1 million.

Panyarachun was appointed UNICEF Ambassador for Thailand on 17 January, 1996.  Since then he has been an outstanding advocate for children, speaking on child rights issues, child abuse, HIV/AIDS and education reform.  He has been actively involved in fund raising bringing in more than US $10 million.

Accepting the award, Panyarachun said that he appreciated the recognition from UNICEF and looked forward to "many more years of working together to make our world fit for children."

Khun Anand Panyarachun served twice as Prime Minister of Thailand.  He chaired the Constitution drafting committee, which was a cornerstone in the develpment of Thailand's democracy; he was recognized as a leader in educational and environmental reforms and good governance.

Key facts and figures:

  • Fewer than one in four people at risk of infection are able to obtain basic information regarding HIV/AIDS;
  • Only one in nine people seeking to know their HIV serostatus have access to voluntary counselling and testing services
  •  Less than one in 20 pregnant women presenting for antenatal care are able to access services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus;
  • Less than 5 per cent of those who could benefit from anti-retroviral treatment are currently able to access such treatment;
  • In the majority of countries where the sharing of equipment among injecting drug users is a major mode of HIV transmission, coverage for prevention and treatment programmes for drug users is under 5 per cent.
  • Women and girls now represent one half of all cases of HIV infection globally and as many as 58 per cent in Africa.
  • Globally, more than 14 million children under the age of 16 have lost one or bother parents to HIV/AIDS, including 11 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Yet 39 per cent of reporting States with generalized epidemics lack national strategies for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.


For more information:

Liza Barrie, Senior Communications Adviser,
HIV/AIDS (212) 326-7593, lbarrie@unicef.org

Marixie Mercado, Communications Officer,
HIV/AIDS (212) 326-7133, mmercado@unicef.org

Patrick McCormick, East Asia and Pacific Office in Bangkok
Tel: (662)356-9407 Mobile: (661) 906 0813




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