Minister Lenihan launches a new Technical Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS and other Communicable Diseases
Mr Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today launched a new Technical Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS and other global communicable diseases.
The Technical Advisory Group will provide advice and technical input into Irish Aid's work in this area, as the volume of resources available is increasing rapidly.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister of State said:
“I am keen to ensure that there will be opportunities for stronger engagement with Irish institutions and experts throughout the Irish Aid programme and for this purpose I have established an independent Technical Advisory Group
At the UN Millennium Review Summit in September 2005, the Taoiseach and I committed Ireland to increasing spending on the fight against HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases to €100 million.
The Technical Advisory Group will be an invaluable source of wealth and expertise for Irish Aid as our expenditure in this area continues to increase significantly.
I want to thank the members of the group for agreeing to participate.
The need to tackle communicable diseases in developing countries has never been greater. These diseases are the major cause of sickness and death today, especially among women and children, and Africa is most affected.
Communicable diseases are both a cause and consequence of poverty, and bringing them under control is vital for human development and economic growth.”
The main function of the Group will be to provide advice to the Minister of State and the Department of Foreign Affairs on the balance and components of the initiative on HIV/AIDS and other global communicable diseases. It is also charged with providing technical guidance on the effectiveness and quality of programmes supported.
At the launch the Minister of State welcomed members of the Technical Advisory Group. The Group will be chaired by Professor William Hall, head of the National Virus Reference Laboratory in UCD. Other members of the Technical Advisory Group are:
Professor Charles Normand, Trinity College Dublin;
Dr Teresa Maguire, Health Research Board;
Dr Diarmuid O Donovan, University College Galway;
Dr Maire Connelly, World Health Organisation;
Dr Abdul Bulbulia,
Dr Elizabeth Keane, representing the Health Service Executive
Professor Ruairi Brugha, Royal College of Surgeons
Dr Sam McConkey, Royal College of Surgeons
Mr Michael Lyons, CEO, Tallaght Hospital
Ms Nam Lombard, Bon Secours Hospital, Cork
HIV/AIDS is one of the biggest threats to development today. Over 40 million people are infected with HIV and almost 3 million die annually from AIDS. There is a resurgence of 'old' diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. Malaria now kills over one million people every year, more than it did three decades ago. A huge increase in TB has been caused by HIV/AIDS and now accounts for 2 million deaths annually. Most of the 12 million deaths of children under five that occur each year are due to communicable diseases. Childhood immunisations can prevent deaths and disability from measles, polio, pneumonia and meningitis.
This new initiative will build on Ireland's experience in tackling global communicable diseases through its development programmes at international, regional and country level and will investigate the possibilities of new initiatives in future years.
21 March 2006