05 June 2015 | Statements

Unitaid brings innovation to the global response to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria

UNITAID is taking steps to accelerate grant-making and maximize impact and value for money by targeting specific areas where its investments can best contribute to ending HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as global epidemics.

At a meeting in Rio de Janeiro, the Executive Board announced it would as a first step focus investments in three areas, all of them identified in consultation with partners, as being crucial to help achieve a global target of putting 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV on treatment by 2020.

The three areas are: improving antiretroviral therapy for adults in low and middle-income countries; enabling the expanded use, or “scale-up”, of first pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as a means of preventing HIV transmission; and the development of better tools to diagnose hepatitis C virus (HCV), in particular for people who are co-infected with HIV/HCV.

Meeting the 2020 goals – which also include ensuring 90 percent of people living with HIV are aware of their HIV status and that 90 percent of those on treatment have viral suppression – will require the number of people on treatment in low and middle-income countries to more than double within 5 years.

“With the introduction of these ambitious new changes, UNITAID is intensifying efforts to end the three diseases, making the best strategic use of investments in areas where there is greatest need, ” said Executive Board Chair Philippe Douste-Blazy,

Each of these areas is subject to market constraints that are holding back scaled-up use of effective new treatments, diagnostics and other tools and putting the achievement of global health targets at risk.

“By working closely with our partners to identify where the greatest needs are and where UNITAID can intervene we will contribute to a more coordinated and effective response,” said UNITAID’s Executive Director Lelio Marmora.

Mr. Marmora also thanked Fiocruz, a prominent health institute attached to Brazil’s Health Ministry, for organizing the Board meeting. “We are especially grateful to Fiocruz, which has played such a dominant role in fighting disease in Brazil over the past century, for hosting such a productive meeting.”

The Executive Board also approved the introduction of a new operating model, which aims to make grant development faster, more focused and efficient, while ensuring that grants are fully consistent with global health goals and help global health partners achieve more with scarce resources.

Under the new approach UNITAID will launch targeted calls for proposals from grant applicants, guided by the specific areas of intervention that are identified through engagement with partners and countries.

UNITAID’s mission is to find new ways to treat, diagnose and prevent the three diseases faster, better and more effectively.

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