UK and Germany announce international partnership

24th August 2007

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday announced a global health campaign aimed at increasing aid to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases in developing countries, Reuters reports. The campaign, titled the International Health Partnership, will bring together donor nations - such as Britain, Canada, Germany and Norway -- as well as the World Health Organization and the World Bank. The partnership, which also aims to reduce child and maternal mortality in developing countries, officially will be launched on Sept. 5. Under the partnership, donor nations will submit long-term health plans, and international groups will pledge to better coordinate funding and on-the-ground efforts (Reuters, 8/22).

Fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS and reducing child and maternal mortality are included in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, Brown and Merkel said, adding that the health-related MDGs are least likely to be met by 2015. They added that international aid to address health is "over-complex" and "fragmented" and that a lack of infrastructure in developing countries is hindering efforts to fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. The partnership will link donor support with existing health plans to coordinate health care activities, according to Brown and Merkel.

The leaders hope to create "sustainable health systems" that "deliver improved outcomes," according to a joint statement. They added that the partnership is a "critical step" in meeting the MDGs by 2015. "Our efforts must bring together the private sectors, [nongovernmental organizations], faith groups, international agencies and governments" to "reduce poverty, improve health and provide opportunities for the poor across the world," Brown and Merkel said in the statement.

The announcement comes after the Group of Eight industrialized nations in June pledged to increase aid to developing countries. Alison Woodhead, head of health and education for Oxfam, said the partnership could "save lives by coordinating investment in health care that is free, public and well-staffed." Woodhead added that Brown and Merkel should be "congratulated for following through on their G8 promises to improve health care. The challenge for them now is to make sure other countries get on board to ensure maximum impact" (Reuters, 8/22).

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August 24 2007, Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report

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