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'Invest in fighting epidemics to tide over recession'

world Updated: Mar 31, 2009 13:04 IST
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Keeping aside money for fighting epidemics such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in times of global recession is a smart investment, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said while urging the donors to fund UN-backed efforts to prevent the spread of the deadly diseases.

AIDS threatens to reduce GDP by up to 2.6 per cent across Africa, Ban warned in a video message to the mid-term review meeting of the second voluntary replenishment process of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Ban said since 2001 the Global Fund has committed over $10 billion to health programmes in 140 countries, helping to keep parents, workers and teachers alive and productive.

Programmes supported by it have helped delay the onset of AIDS in 2 million HIV-positive people, detected and treated 4.6 million cases of TB, delivered 70 million insecticide- treated bed nets and administered 74 million malaria drug treatments.

"It has been a success. The Global Fund has saved millions of lives. It is important that we replenish it," Ban told the meeting in Cacares, Spain.

Acknowledging that $4 billion is needed by the Global Fund to meet its 2010 targets, Ban said, "I say to you that spending on AIDS, TB and malaria is a smart investment. It is a true recovery package."