The heads of several organizations involved in public health issues worldwide on Tuesday called on the Group of Eight industrialized nations to invest more resources in health and disease programs, the AP/USA Today reports. In an open letter in the International Herald Tribune, the public health leaders said that G8 leaders should bolster long-term efforts to address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases to build on progress made from previous commitments. The letter was signed by the heads of the World Health Organization; UNICEF; UNAIDS; the U.N. Population Fund; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the GAVI Alliance; the World Bank; and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (AP/USA Today, 6/9). Advertisement
The letter was published ahead of the G8 summit next month in Hokkaido, Japan. According to the public health leaders, the previous summit hosted by Japan in Okinawa in 2000 prompted efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other diseases. "Without doubt, the spirit of Okinawa drove efforts that improved the health of millions of people," they wrote, adding, "Now, the Hokkaido summit presents Japan and its fellow G8 leaders with an ideal opportunity to protect these achievements, to renew existing commitments to reproductive health and fight against HIV, TB and malaria, to finish polio eradication and to address the terrible gaps that remain in public health" (Kyodo News, 6/9).
The letter also says that new commitments at the summit next month could reduce child deaths, poor nutrition and global diseases. New commitment also could improve access to clean water and sanitation, according to the letter. Although previous G8 commitments helped to increase HIV/AIDS treatment access, reduce malaria deaths in parts of Africa and curb the spread of TB in some countries, some critics say that there has been little progress toward providing universal access to prevention, treatment and care and toward strengthening health systems. "Better health in the developing world is a vital contribution to our collective security," the letter says, adding, "A world that neglects the health of people is neither stable nor secure" (AP/USA Today, 6/9).
The letter is available online
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