The Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) Joins the International Community in Celebrating the First Anniversary of UNITAID

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The Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) celebrates the first anniversary of UNITAID, an international drug purchase facility hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), and working to reduce the costs of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria drugs.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) today called for celebration of the first anniversary of UNITAID, an international drug purchase facility launched on September 2006. Hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNITAID continually works to reduce costs of high-quality HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria drugs for populations in developing countries.

In its first year, UNITAID raised funds using minor taxes from airline tickets and other innovative funding sources to provide treatment for the three diseases greatly impacting the economies of developing countries. In collaboration with partners UNICEF and WHO, UNITAID supplied rescue packages of effective malaria treatments -- artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) for Liberia and Burundi, when they ran out of medicines and funding late last year.

"UNITAID is a key partner in the fight against malaria and its recent interventions have allowed us to save thousands of lives while also having a dynamic impact on the ACT market. Malaria kills over a million people every year, and UNITAID shows how partnerships can be effective active advocates working for a malaria free-future," said Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Executive Director, Roll Back Malaria Partnership.

UNITAID's founding member countries, Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom partnered with 21 new members, which include 18 African nations to strengthen their efforts. As more governments participate, a growing number of life-saving tools are reaching communities.

In 2008, the one year old organization will further increase access to treatment by enhancing diagnostic capacity for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in impoverished communities.

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