One year on: UNITAID celebrates achievements
21 September 2007
One year on since its establishment, the international drug purchase facility – UNITAID – is celebrating a number of key achievements.
“In the year since it was established, UNITAID has managed to reduce the price of HIV treatments for children by almost 40%, and those for second-line antiretroviral (ARV) drugs by between 25% and 50%,” UNITAID reported.
“In collaboration with the Clinton Foundation, UNITAID has also delivered more than 33 000 paediatric treatments against AIDS and is on course to meet the needs of 100 000 children by the end of 2007.
”UNITAID was launched in September 2006 during the United Nations General Assembly. The mandate of UNITAID is to contribute to the scaling up of access to treatments for AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in developing countries by leveraging quality drugs and diagnostics price reductions and accelerating the pace at which these are made available. UNITAID offers beneficiary countries long-term support through sustainable and predictable funding, mobilized by innovative financing mechanisms, such as a solidarity contribution on air tickets, together with multi-year predictable budgetary contributions.
Over the last year, UNITAID has committed a total of US$ 45 million for second-line antiretroviral drugs to fund the treatment of 65 000 patients by 2008. “Four countries (Botswana, Cameroon, Uganda and Zambia) have already received a first supply of second-line ARV drugs through UNITAID and a further 13 countries are currently awaiting delivery,” said UNITAID.
UNITAID is also contributing to the fight against tuberculosis together with the Global Drug Facility and the Stop TB Partnership. By the end of the year, UNITAID will have provided TB treatments to 150 000 children in 19 countries and will be supporting the provision of drugs for Multidrug - resistant TB in 17 low-income countries.
For each programme, UNITAID sets up an ad hoc partnership with existing organizations: World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Clinton Foundation, Global Drug Facility/Green Light Committee and the Stop TB Partnership.
”UNITAID is a prime example of the rapid, flexible and innovative action needed to develop a sustainable long-term response to AIDS and reach universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” said UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Michel Sidibe. “In less than a year, UNITAID has shown that harmonization, simplification and coordination lead to less duplication and much more effective use of resources. It is a real model of ‘making the money work’ and scaling up of existing programmes for the benefit of the people who need it most.
Based in Geneva, the UNITAID Trust Fund and Secretariat are hosted by WHO. At present, 27 countries— of which 19 are in Africa— are members and contribute to UNITAID. At least 85% of UNITAID funds are spent in low income countries. The budget of UNITAID for 2007 is over US$ 300 million and 90% has already been committed to programmes in more than 80 countries.
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