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Reaching the other half

According to Michel Kazatchkine, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, ‘resources, resources, resources’ are the top three things we need in order to achieve universal access to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support services.

In 2005, a commitment was made by the G8 to universal access to HIV services by 2010. Huge progress has been achieved, however we’re still far from reaching the universal goal set five years ago. Last week, a meeting took place between the Executive Director of the Global Fund, NGOs, donors and delegates from East and Southern Africa. The panel held an afternoon session in Parliament to discuss what three things we think are the top priorities in order to achieve universal access, where the gaps are and how we keep this at the top of the agenda, including messages to take to the G8 and G20 this year.

The first item on everyone’s list was funding. A substantial amount is needed to replenish the Global Fund’s income. The financial transaction tax may be a way of generating billions of dollars to fund essential education and health services and through this potential increased funding, we need to ensure donors and national governments commit a certain percentage to health.

We need to think about who we have yet to reach and how we can reach the most marginalised communities. By scaling up community based organisations, we can reach more health workers delivering services. Stigma also prevents many people from being tested for HIV and AIDS and of making use of HIV services. Through increased education, these barriers can be broken down.

Supporting the patent pool by making sure pharmaceuticals lift patent barriers and eliminate their monopoly can help address the gap which exists between what is needed and what is supplied at an affordable price in terms of HIV treatment. There are currently very few child friendly medicines for HIV. However the patent pool would ensure new combinations of treatment could be produced at a lower cost price.

Michel Kazatchkine wanted to send a message of praise to the G8 for supporting the Global Fund. He called on the G20 to expand the number of nations having progressive ownership in order to increase resources and show a united front so this does not fall off the agenda and so universal access is achieved by 2015.

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