5 October 2010
Secretary-General
SG/SM/13161
AIDS/163
DEV/2837

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Goal of Ending Malaria Deaths by 2015 Is in Sight, Secretary-General Says,

 

at Global Fund Third Replenishment Pledging Conference

 


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening remarks at the Global Fund Third Replenishment Pledging Conference, in New York, today, 5 October:


It is a pleasure today to chair this Third Global Fund Replenishment Conference.


Thanks to your work, thanks to your committed engagement, we are saving millions of lives.  And we will save millions more.  Together, we are writing one of the major success stories of the twenty-first century.


Two weeks ago, world leaders gathered at the United Nations to take stock of our progress on the Millennium Development Goals.  We saw wins and losses, but one thing stood out in bold relief:  our enormous advances in fighting killer diseases.  You have been a big part of that success.  And today, you are showing the way ahead.


Perhaps programmes supported by the Global Fund have saved an estimated 5.7 million lives.  They have provided AIDS treatment for 2.8 million people; tuberculosis treatment for 7 million people; distributed 122 million bed nets to prevent malaria.


You have been key to the broad partnerships that, in recent years, have transformed our approach to fighting disease and promoting development, partnerships with business, Governments, non-governmental organizations and philanthropy organizations.


This is the wave of the future, and I thank all of you in this room.  And I particularly thank our Vice-Chair, Richard Manning, for his work on today’s Conference, and for all he has done over the past 12 months.  I thank you very much again.


We all know we have much yet to do.  The foes we are fighting do not rest.  For every two people who start HIV treatment, five more are newly infected.  Every day, 4,500 people die from tuberculosis.  And every 45 seconds, a child dies of malaria.  That means 62 lives will be cut short by a preventable, treatable disease in the time it takes to deliver my speech.


I saw the desperate need for myself, earlier this year during a trip to Uganda.  Visiting an AIDS clinic in Kampala, Uganda, patients begged me for help.  They were not worried for themselves; thanks largely to you, their treatment will continue.  Their worry was for others — their brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and neighbours — people who may contract the disease if appropriate prevention efforts are not available; and the fear that if they do, the money will not be there to treat them.


Already, doctors and nurses told me about making life-and-death decisions.  Do they treat a child but not the mother?  Do they treat a brother but not his younger sister?  For me, this was frankly heart-breaking.


We are within sight of ending deaths from malaria by 2015.  That would be a great victory, on the order of eliminating smallpox, or polio.  But we must defeat all these three diseases, completely.  If we lose the ground we have gained, we will be back to square one — all that effort and investment, lost.


The decisions you make here today will determine the outcome.  The money you pledge saves lives.  It is that simple.  Beyond that, it offers hope.


Investing in the Global Fund — and make no mistake:  this is an investment — has proven itself as a powerful engine for development.  That is because healthy communities are prosperous communities.  It is the foundation of a virtuous cycle, a cycle of better education, social stability and growing economic dynamism.


So once again, I thank you most sincerely.  Thank you for your leadership, generosity and commitment.


And, through you, the Global Fund does more than make a difference.  It promises to help re-write the opening chapter of our new century.


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For information media • not an official record