unitaid unitaid at who.int
Thu Nov 11 04:10:43 PST 2010

Geneva, 11 November 2010 - The UNITAID Executive Board today unanimously
re-elected Philippe Douste-Blazy as Chair of UNITAID for another two
years. In his acceptance speech, Mr Douste-Blazy stated that he would
double his efforts to ensure that globalization work for the poor
through UNITAID's specific focus on shaping markets for patient
treatments in developing countries. He also pledged to take innovative
financing advocacy and actions to a higher level, thereby increasing
support for UNITAID, other existing mechanisms, and new innovative
financing initiatives such as the Currency Transaction Tax and the
Global Tobacco Tax.
"I will work more closely with partners," he said, "so that we ensure a
high return on investments for major impact on people's health. I will
also take the UNITAID business model to world leaders, to show that
innovative financing is a vital contribution to health and development
The UNITAID Board - made up of the Governments of Brazil, Chile, France,
Norway, South Korea, Spain, the African Union, the Bill &Melinda Gates
Foundation, Civil Society and the World Health Organization -
congratulated Mr Douste-Blazy for his successful track record in
promoting better access to better medicines for people affected by AIDS,
TB and malaria. As UN Under-Secretary General for Innovative Financing
for Development, Mr Douste-Blazy was also saluted for his tireless work
in promoting innovative financing globally as a crucial factor in
reaching the Millennium Development Goals. 

UNITAID was launched in 2006 as an innovative mechanism for scaling up
access to treatment for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Founded by
Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the UK, today UNITAID has the support
of 29 countries as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

UNITAID's funding model is based on an air ticket solidarity levy. While
some donors contribute through multi-year budgetary commitments, the air
tax provides about 70% of our funding. The added value is that a very
tiny percentage of a large volume of transactions, which has minimal
impact for those who pay, will have maximum impact for patients across
the developing world.

UNITAID currently supports partner programmes in 94 countries globally -
addressing HIV/AIDS in 51 countries; malaria in 29; and tuberculosis in
72 countries. Since late 2006 UNITAID has committed US$ 1.3 billion to
the diagnosis and treatment of these three diseases, representing a
total of over 21 million treatments provided to patients. 

Among UNITAID's achievements is the creation of a market for paediatric
AIDS medicines where almost none existed before UNITAID entered into
partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative in 2007; this
partnership covers almost all children on AIDS treatment today. UNITAID
has also achieved price reductions on a number of health commodities for
the three diseases, thus treating more patients for the same outlay.  

UNITAID uses a market impact model that drives prices down, by
guaranteeing a long-term market for large volumes of drugs and medical
tools. Reduced prices, in turn, help funds go further and help more

UNITAID's work helps foster the development of needed medicine
formulations that otherwise are not priorities for pharmaceutical
research and development programmes, such as three-in-one fixed-dose
combination AIDS medicines for children. To further this area of work,
UNITAID created a Medicines Patent Pool this year.

Contact: Daniela Bagozzi, UNITAID Communication, +41 79 475 54 90;
bagozzid at who.int 


French version to be available on our website soon, www.unitaid.eu. 

Dr Philippe Douste-Blazy

As pioneer in the innovative financing movement, Dr Philippe
Douste-Blazy is currently Special Advisor to the Secretary General of
the United Nations on Innovative Finance for Development, with the rank
of Under Secretary General.
Dr Douste-Blazy is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost
experts on innovative financing to reach the Millennium Development
- He founded, at a ministerial level, the <Leading Group on Solidarity
Levies to Fund Development> (www.leadinggroup.org) in February 2006 at
the Paris Conference on Innovative Development Financing Mechanisms.
- He serves as Special Advisor to the <High Level Taskforce on
Innovative International Financing for Health Systems" (co-chaired by
Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, and Gordon Brown, Prime
Minister of the United Kingdom).
- In October, 2006, he was elected President of UNITAID, a multilateral
South-North organization and a global health partnership established
under the auspices of the United Nations to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and
malaria among the world's' most vulnerable populations, most of whom
live in countries devastated by conflict and war (e.g. Haiti, Central
African Republic, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe,
Angola, Guinea, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq...). UNITAID
is based at the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva,
Dr Philippe Douste-Blazy has held several ministerial positions in his
native France, including Minister of Health (1993-1995), Minister of
Culture and Communication (1995-1997), Minister for Solidarity, Health
and Family (2004-2005) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2005-2007).
Prior to embracing policy initiatives, Dr Douste-Blazy was a practicing
cardiologist and Professor of Public Health at Toulouse University in

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