European Commission Calls on E.U. Governments To Provide More Funding for HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB Programs in Africa, Asia
The European Commission on Wednesday proposed expanding the 25-nation European Union's programs to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in African and Asian countries, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. The commission called on E.U. governments to "agree on a considerable contribution" to increase its budget for fighting the diseases, according to the AP/Sun. The European Union contributes approximately $310 million annually to fight the three diseases and is the second-largest donor to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 4/27). The European Commission on Wednesday adopted the "Programme for Action: Accelerated Action on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis in the Context of Poverty Reduction" that suggests E.U. governments in their 2007-2013 budgetary discussions agree to help fill the "financing gap" of the three diseases, which the United Nations estimates will be $14.9 billion annually by 2007, according to an E.C. release (E.C. release, 4/27). The proposal says the expanded program should include the distribution of insecticide-treated bednets and condoms at no cost, increased access to counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS, and the promotion of affordable drugs, research and education programs (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 4/27). The proposal also calls on E.U. governments to help launch political dialogue about the stigma, discrimination and human rights issues facing people living with the diseases, as well as address specific concerns of "vulnerable groups," such as orphans and children (E.C. release, 4/27). The commission said it plans to seek support for the expanded program at a meeting of foreign ministers of E.U. members next month. "HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB are the main killer diseases in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and are also a major obstacle for development," E.U. Development Commissioner Louis Michel said, adding that the program is "the basis for a continued, coherent and strong European response to this global threat" (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 4/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.