Building on the submissions we received during the public consultation process last year we are now updating Taking Action, the UK’s strategy for tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world. The needs and rights of children affected by AIDS will remain a UK priority when it is published later this year.
The UK Government are at the forefront of strengthening health systems, including their distribution systems, to improve access to essential drugs such as cotrimoxazole. For example, in Zambia, we are working with the World Bank to help develop a pilot for innovative ways to improve delivery in the public distribution system. It was a DFID-funded trial in Zambia which first showed how cotrimoxazole can reduce mortality in children living with HIV by up to 43 per cent.
DFID’s financial support to health systems in developing countries is helping to ensure that pregnant women are able to access the ante natal and delivery care services they need to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The International Health Partnership, which was launched by the Prime Minister in September 2007, will help ensure that donor resources are better coordinated, that they back strong national health development plans and that they focus on strengthening the health systems that deliver better services.
The UK Government make substantial financial contributions to both UNITAID (the International Drugs Purchase Facility) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to which the UK is the second largest country funder.
UNITAID provided $35.9 million in 2006-07 for paediatric treatment and diagnosis. UNICEF is working in several countries in Africa to improve methods of infant diagnosis of HIV, with the result that more infants and small children are being safely and effectively tested and treated.
The UK is the second largest government donor of AIDS-related assistance. In 2006-07 we provided £481 million to help tackle HIV and AIDS and have a strong track record of translating G8 commitments into action. The UK has called on other G8 countries to play their part in meeting their commitments. The UK Government are in the process of updating our strategy on tackling HIV and AIDS in the developing world. The needs and rights of children affected by AIDS will remain a UK priority, and this will be reflected in the update to Taking Action.