WHO Announces Measures To Ensure HIV/AIDS Programs Help Deliver Improved Health Services; Canadian Donation Key to Program
The World Health Organization on Thursday announced measures to ensure that HIV/AIDS programs help deliver improved health services to countries highly affected by the pandemic, especially nations in Africa, the CP/Canada.com reports (Branswell, CP/Canada.com, 11/4). WHO will work to ensure that HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts continue and help expand quality health services to people living with HIV/AIDS and their families and communities, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 11/4). "We must ensure that the people who need treatment for AIDS are getting it. Otherwise, they will die," WHO Director-General Dr. Jong-Wook Lee said. Canadian Minister of International Cooperation Aileen Carroll added, "We are determined to reach as many people as we can in the world's poorest and most hard-hit countries with antiretroviral treatment and information on how to prevent HIV/AIDS." WHO's platform to improve conditions in developing countries includes ensuring sufficient numbers of trained health care workers, effective systems to purchase and distribute drugs and supplies, and fair financing and health information systems to avoid people falling "through the cracks." WHO also plans to provide countries in need with tools to track health information to maintain records of patients' visits, medical histories and medication results (WHO release, 11/4).
Canada's $80 million contribution to WHO's 3 by 5 Initiative will be "key" in helping to build services to address the health care worker shortage and allow for health care worker training, according to Xinhuanet (Xinhuanet, 11/4). "I am pleased to announce that while countries are rapidly trying to expand access to AIDS medicines and prevention services, funding from Canada will also help them provide better and more sustainable health services," Lee said, adding, "Our key aspect is to train and retain health workers. There simply are not enough in too many poor countries" (WHO release, 11/4). In sub-Saharan Africa, there are only 600,000 health care workers for a total population of 682 million people, compared with 500,000 health care workers in Canada, which has a population of about 31 million people, according to the CP/Canada.com. The "critical lack" of health care workers in sub-Saharan Africa has contributed to the burden on developing countries with HIV/AIDS epidemics, Lee said, according to the CP/Canada.com. As a result, the Canadian donation will be used to train an additional 85,000 health care workers in the next 18 months, Lee said, the CP/Canada.com reports. WHO also is searching for solutions to keep doctors in Africa. Trained doctors and nurses are moving to countries with greater opportunities, such as Canada and the United States, which has created a shortage in some countries, such as South Africa, according to the CP/Canada.com (CP/Canada.com, 11/4).