British Campaign Aimed At Improving Health Systems, Fighting Diseases

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday is scheduled toannounce seven developing countries that will participate in a globalhealth campaign aimed at improving health systems, fighting diseaseslike HIV/AIDS and better coordinating financial aid, Reuters reports (Croft, Reuters,9/5). The campaign, titled the International Health Partnership, willbring together donor nations -- such as Britain, Canada, Germany andNorway -- as well as the World Health Organization and the World Bank (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/24). The seven countries are Burundi, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal and Zambia (Reuters, 9/5).


Underthe partnership, donor nations will submit long-term health plans, andinternational groups will pledge to better coordinate funding andon-the-ground efforts. In addition to fighting diseases such asHIV/AIDS and malaria, the partnership aims to reduce child and maternalmortality, all of which are included in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals,Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last month when thepartnership was announced. They added that the health-related MDGs areleast likely to be met by 2015. They added that international aid toaddress health is "over-complex" and "fragmented" and that a lack ofinfrastructure in developing countries is hindering efforts to fightHIV/AIDS and other diseases. The partnership will link donor supportwith existing health plans to coordinate health care activities,according to Brown and Merkel (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/24).

According to the AP/Dow Jones,each participating country has agreed to increase spending on healthcare in return for support from the partnership. The first round of theprogram will be funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,according to officials. In addition, private-sector companies,including drug makers, will participate in the partnership, Brown'soffice said. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Sept. 26plans to hold a meeting in New York to increase support for theprogram, the AP/Dow Jones reports (AP/Dow Jones, 9/5).

Brownin a statement said, "Today we come together -- donor governments,health agencies and developing countries -- with the certainty that wehave the knowledge and the power to save millions of lives through ourefforts." Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam,said the program will "only succeed if enough countries get behind itand if it mobilizes additional aid to provide coordinated and expandedstate health provision" (Reuters, 9/5).

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