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Regional Consulation on AIDS, TB, Malaria begins

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 4 (UNI) A four-day regional consultation on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis began today to exchange ideas and experiences in tackling the three dreaded diseases by the countries of Asia and Pacific region and to devise common strategies to control them.

Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss is inaugurating the Regional Consultation titled 'Confronting HIV, as well as Tuberculosis and Malaria: An Asia Stakeholders' Consultation' being organised by the ministry alon gwith the European Commission and UNAIDS, WHO and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The Consultatoin would build on recent national, regional and international experiences providing the key public, civil society and private partners involved--including networks of people living with HIV and TB--to exchange ideas and experiences from Asia and Pacific and to agree upon common strategies that would help the communities and governments in the region.

The consultation would deliberate on the issues of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support and systems issues in concurrent sessions. The outcome would culminate into a declaration that will identify regional targets for adoption and action.

Delegates for the consulation include public, private and civil society representatives from selected countries in Asia and Pacific including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Investment in health and health systems are increasingly considered as the crucial links between social well-being, economic growth and social justice. Many Asian countries are challenged by the heavy disease burden from HIV/TB and malaria which affects poor and vulnerable people further aggravating their economic situation.

Yet for all these diseases tools to control and better manage them are available, the only challenge is to make them available to those who need them.

In April 2005, the European Commission adopted a 'Programme for Action entitled 'A European Programme for Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through External Action' based on the international commitments and lessons learnt to fight the three diseases effectively. The Delhi Consultation would provide Asian stakeholders an opportunity to review strategic options and achievements in HIV, TB and malaria control and to suggest how to work better and faster to combat these diseases and reach global and country targets.

India has the highest burden of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS is also a major challenge in terms of absolute numbers. To control HIV-related TB and drug resistant TB, health professionals are being trained in cross referral systems and active collaboration is being done in various programmes so that prompt diagnosis and treatment could be done.

The HIV prevalence rate in southern states of India has come down due to strong policies and programmes undertaken by the governemnt during the past decade. However, sharing of experiences between states and various nations having diverse health systems would enrich everyone.

UNI AJ PK RS1507

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