Statements and Webcast
H. E. Mrs. Dharma Shila Chapagai, State Minister for Health and Population
10 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
DHARMA SHILA CHAPAGAI, State Minister of Health and Population of Nepal, said the HIV/AIDS pandemic was a major global health problem affecting low- and middle-income countries, in particular. The scourge severely undermined people’s health and well-being, as well as development efforts. While the resource flow to fight that menace had increased over the years, millions of people remained outside the basic coverage of minimum health services in many parts of the world. In that regard, shared responsibility must be based on equity and equality. Also critical in an effective and accountable response were the provision of sustainable financial resources and funding flows, the consolidation of national health systems, and the integrated efforts of all stakeholders. “Needless to say, prevention is better than cure,” she said, stressing that prevention must be the cornerstone of the global response. Further, access to safe, effective, affordable, good quality medicine and commodities, including generic medicines would aid efforts towards prevention, treatment, care and support. Intellectual property rights provisions in trade agreements must remain favourable for easy access to affordable medicine.
Turning to the situation of HIV/AIDS in Nepal, she said there were 63,000 cases, and 5,500 people were currently receiving antiretroviral treatment, indicating a that a large proportion of people needed treatment, care and support. As a least developed country, Nepal lacked adequate resources to effectively deal with HIV/AIDS; however, it accorded it top priority in its national health-care policy, and measures had been adopted to that end. The multi-stakeholder response targeted the most vulnerable populations, including intravenous drug users, men having sex with men, migrant labourers and clients of female sex workers. The Government was seeking to reduce stigma and discrimination and had formed a National AIDS Council. Yet, it needed support: “We have the means, but we need to summon global political will and resources to intensify our response in an effective manner,” she said.