Italy ups contribution to fight AIDS, TB, malaria

Rome, Aug 27 (IANS/AKI) Italy's 15 per cent increase in its contribution to United Nations efforts to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria proves its commitment to the health sector, Foreign Minister Emanuela Del Re said on Tuesday.

"The increase in Italy's contribution to the Global Fund is the confirmation of Italy's commitment to the health sector," said Del Re, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

"We have wanted to responsibly respond to the Fund's call to intensify the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in order to achieve the target of eradicating the three diseases by 2030 and save 16 million lives over the next three years," she added.

Del Re's comments came after outgoing Premier Giuseppe Conte announced at the G7 summit in Biarritz that Italy will give 161 million euros to the Global Fund till 2022 - a 15 per cent rise from the previous three years.

The donation will be channelled to the Global Fund by Italy's Overseas Aid Department, she said.

"Health, especially of women, youth, children and the most vulnerable groups, is a key condition for development," Del Re said.

Italy's pledge responds to the call launched by the Global Fund to raise (Dollar) 14 billion to save 16 million lives from 2021 to 2023, prevent 234 million infections or new cases, reduce inequality and strengthen the health care systems of developing countries, with the aim of wiping out epidemics by 2030, the Foreign Ministry stated.

The Global Fund, which was launched under the 2001 Italian Presidency of the G7, has helped save 27 million lives and to reducing by a third the number of deaths caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, by investing more than 41 billion dollars to support the hardest-hit countries.

The Fund operates in more than 100 countries and concentrates 92 per cent of its resources on low and lower medium income countries that record a high incidence of the three diseases.

A total 65 per cent of its programmes are implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa, the foreign ministry said.

In 2017 alone, 17.5 million people received antiretroviral treatment for AIDS and 79 million people were examined, 5 million people were treated for tuberculosis, 197 million sprayed mosquito nets were distributed and a third of the fund's resources were invested to comprehensively bolster target countries' health care systems.



Source: IANS