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Countries Must Work Together To Defeat AIDS, TB And Malaria

“Liberia and Sweden might seem to be worlds apart. But in today’s interconnected world, the challenge of defeating poverty, gender inequality and infectious diseases is truly part of a single universal aspiration,” Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlson write in the Huffington Post’s “Big Push” blog. “Liberia is within reach of building a health sector where no child dies of malaria and every mother living with HIV can give birth to HIV-negative children while living a healthy life herself,” they write, adding, “As we look ahead at the challenges before us, we strongly believe in the importance of strengthening the role of women in society.” They continue, “As the world’s leading financial institution in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, the Global Fund understands the importance of focusing its efforts on the most vulnerable people. That means better prevention, treatment and care for women and girls to avoid the spread of these diseases.”

Johnson-Sirleaf and Carlson note the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria “has set a target of raising $15 billion at a pledging conference later this year so that it can effectively support countries in fighting these three infectious diseases in the 2014-2016 period,” and they write, “While African countries are still appealing for international support, we also recognize the paramount need to increase our own investments in our national health programs.” This investment “is essential in building country ownership and for the long-term sustainability of programs and health systems” and because “[i]t also demonstrates accountability and sends a strong message to partners such as Sweden that implementing countries are playing their part in global endeavors,” the authors write, concluding, “If we intensify our efforts we can turn these three pandemics into low-level epidemics, essentially controlling them and removing them as threats to public health” (9/16).