Global body assesses anti-HIV progress

An eight-member delegation from UNITAID, an international organization dedicated to provision of affordable HIV/Aids therapy in developing countries, arrived in Rwanda this week to assess progress in anti HIV programmes.

An eight-member delegation from UNITAID, an international organization dedicated to provision of affordable HIV/Aids therapy in developing countries, arrived in Rwanda this week to assess progress in anti HIV programmes.

The President of UNITAID, Philippe Douste-Blazy, said the team will be assessing the achievements registered by institutions involved in the HIV fight, particularly in the areas of mother-to-child HIV prevention, and provision of pediatric care and treatment.

Addressing the press at the National Aids Control Commission (CNLS) offices Tuesday, Douste-Blazy, said that the organization’s mission was to make treatment for HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis accessible, primarily for people in low-income countries.

“UNITAID seeks to influence price reduction for quality diagnostics and medicines and accelerate the rate at which they are available in developing communities,” Douste-Blazy said.

He added that the price of antiretroviral drugs to treat children suffering from Aids had reduced by over 50%, which enabled UNITAID to finance three out of four children receiving Aids treatment worldwide.

Anita Asiimwe, the Executive Secretary of CNLS, praised the international body for its support to the country’s HIV control institutions and programmes.

“UNITAID has provided commodities worth US$ 1.5 million that help in the prevention of mother-to-child infections, whereas their support to pediatric institutions was estimated at US$ 6.3 million for the period of 2007-2009,” Asiimwe said.

She added that, as a result of UNITAID’s initiative, over 7,000 children and 5,000 women in various institutions and hospitals had benefited.

A statement released from CNLS yesterday states that the entourage will visit several health institutions, including Kacyiru Police Hospital, Bugesera District Hospital and Rilima Health Centre.

UNITAID was officially launched in 2006 in New York during a United Nations General Assembly with the aim of decreasing the price of medicines for priority diseases and to increase the supply of drugs and diagnostics.

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