Mr Philippe Douste-Blazy, Chairman of UNITAID's Executive Board, and Dr Jorge Bermudez, Executive Secretary of UNITAID, visited Burkina Faso from 14 to 16 February 2008 on invitation of Mr Lazare Bansse, Permanent Secretary of the African Association of Central Medical Stores (ACAME).
During this visit, Mr Philippe Douste-Blazy and Dr Jorge Bermudez met with top country officials -- the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the President of the National Assembly, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health -- who reaffirmed Burkina Faso's commitment following its joining UNITAID in February 2007. Mr Bedouma Alain Yoda, Minister of Health for Burkina Faso, then mentioned that the airline ticket tax will be put in place soon.
This visit allowed Mr Douste-Blazy and Dr Bermudez to meet the representatives of the non-governmental organizations and the country patient associations.
On this trip to ACAME, Mr Philippe Douste-Blazy delivered a consignment of anti-retroviral drugs against HIV/AIDS specific for children provided under partnership between UNITAID and the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative. He was received by the Director of the Saint Camille Central Medical, which is a facility that specialises in the research and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and UNITAID's financial contribution to the paediatric anti-retroviral treatments and programme for the prevention of the mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS was favourably noted.
Mr Philippe Douste-Blazy and Dr Jorge Bermudez also participated in a working group meeting with the General Directors of ACAME to discuss better collaborations with UNITAID-financed programmes.
At the end of the visit, on 16 February, Mr Douste-Blazy attended a gala dinner, hosted by the Lions Club of Burkina Faso and ACAME, to benefit vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
Burkina Faso is the beneficiary of programmes financed by UNITAID and its partners the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative that supply:
- Paediatric anti-retroviral treatments for HIV/AIDS, second-line treatments for AIDS (where the patients developed a resistance to basic drugs), and an important programme for the prevention of the mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT); and
- First-line anti-tuberculosis treatments and treatments for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.