Geneva, 3 June 2016. Ministers of Health from more than 30 countries gathered with national ambassadors and UNITAID partners in Geneva, Switzerland, on 22 May 2016 to celebrate 10 years of UNITAID’s work. They discussed the organisation’s successes as well as challenges for the future. The ministers also shared ideas about their national policies for HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.
Health ministers and diplomats gathered at Hotel President Wilson in Geneva to celebrate UNITAID’s 10 years of innovation in global health (Video: François Glatz for UNITAID):
Dr Raymonde Goudou Coffie, the Ivorian Minister of Health and the Fight against HIV/AIDS, congratulated UNITAID on work that has helped West Africa, praised its innovative financing model, and
urged the organisation to continue to innovate to beat the three diseases. “Now is the time to act, to research and to put vaccines in place,” she said. “The fight continues.” Ivory Coast is using mobile technology to deliver health services, setting a good example for many African countries.
Dr Peter Kumpalume, the Minister for Health of Malawi, listed the top innovations that he would like to see for healthcare in his country. “If we could find a means of eliminating malaria quickly and cheaply, that would be number one,” he said. “Number two would be a test-kit for tuberculosis which is as quick as the Rapid Diagnostic Tests for malaria we currently have.” Kumpalume added that innovation was needed for shorter TB treatments.
Jim O'Neill of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance called for the reform of our use of antibiotics, warning against using them "like sweets". He called for banning the use of antibiotics in agriculture, reminding us that 70 % of antibiotics prescribed in the US are for animals. Lord O'Neill also said that the world needs state-of-the-art diagnostics to prevent unnecessary use of antibiotics.
After O'Neill's presentation on Antimicrobial Resistance, UNITAID chair Philippe Douste-Blazy took the stage to speak of UNITAID's success over 10 years.
Brazilian minister Celso Amorim, who will soon take over as UNITAID chair from Philippe Douste-Blazy, was there.