O'Donnell Welcomes New EU Initiative on HIV/Aids
The Minister of State for Development, Ms. Liz O'Donnell TD, has welcomed a major new initiative by the European Union in tackling HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. The European Commission has convened a High Level Round Table on Major Communicable Diseases, taking place today in Brussels. The Round Table, which brings together representatives of Developing Countries, the European Commission and the Member States of the EU, will launch an urgent European response to the unprecedented global challenge posed by the epidemic of HIV/AIDs and other major communicable diseases. At the Round Table, the European Commission will present a Communication on Accelerated Action against Communicable diseases, which provides a comprehensive framework for urgent EU action in response to the threat posed to the developing world by HIV/Aids and major communicable diseases.
The Minister of State said that: " The Taoiseach and I have long called for a revitalisation of EU action against HIV/AIDs and other communicable diseases. The spread of the epidemic, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, is now undermining years of development effort. The global emergency calls for a global response. We want to see co-ordinated action by the EU, UN, the World Bank and other major donors in addressing this crisis.
"At the same time, from our own experience, we know that the long term development of health sectors in poorer countries is the key to better health and the eradication of disease. While it is vital that we tackle the emergence of HIV/Aids and Malaria, we must not ignore the slow patient task of health sector development. Dealing with fundamental health issues, and tackling the emergency, must go hand in hand.
"While I very much welcome this new Commission initiative, it is essential that it will be followed by a commitment of the necessary resources from the EU Aid budget to ensure that the proposals for accelerated action to tackle HIV/AIDs and communicable diseases can be successfully implemented"
The Minister of State expressed the hope that the Round Table, and the new Commission Communication, will lead to an intensification of efforts by the European Commission and Member States in tackling the threat posed by HIV/Aids, Malaria and TB to the people of developing countries.
The Minister of State recently announced an allocation of £4 million by Ireland Aid for HIV/AIDs programmes in developing countries. The projects to be funded include initiatives in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and for research into a new HIV/Aids vaccine. Top