WHO/Europe and Global Fund reinvigorate partnership
Despite success in addressing malaria and despite declining rates of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the WHO European Region, general rates of HIV and tuberculosis (TB), especially multidrug-resistant TB, are of grave concern.
On 14 April 2011, Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, met with Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, and her staff to review collaboration to date and to identify areas of joint action and future cooperation.
Michel Kazatchkine spoke of “reinvigorating the partnership” between WHO and the Global Fund and reflected on progress in addressing HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria since the Global Fund was established. “It is almost 10 years to the day since Kofi Annan [then Secretary-General of the United Nations] called for a ‘war chest’ against HIV/AIDS. And look how far we have come … funds of US$ 21.7 billion have been approved, and US$ 13 billion have been distributed,” he said.
In partnership with WHO
During the meeting, Michel Kazatchkine shared his vision of a partnership with WHO and highlighted the importance of combining WHO’s policy voice and technical expertise with the Global Fund’s broad constituency and financial support to countries. He also acknowledged that cooperation in the WHO European Region has been excellent so far.
WHO/Europe and the Global Fund are committed to finally eliminating malaria from the European Region and will mobilize additional support to achieve this goal.
HIV/AIDS and TB, especially multidrug-resistant TB, are of great concern to both organizations, and efforts to tackle the diseases need to be stepped up. In addition to agreeing to immediate joint interventions on multidrug-resistant TB, the Global Fund pledged its support to the Multidrug-resistant TB Action Plan being developed by WHO/Europe.
WHO/Europe and the Global Fund also identified working on the pricing and procurement of TB and HIV drugs and supporting countries’ health systems as additional areas of collaboration.
Both organizations agreed that regular meetings and institutionalized ways of working are key to further improving collaboration. Zsuzsanna Jakab invited Michel Kazatchkine to attend the sixty-first session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Baku, Azerbaijan, in September 2011.