Hospital Solidarity Network against AIDS: Presidency launches project

June 18, 2002

Brussels, 17 June 2002

Hospital solidarity to fight against aids. Note from Presidency to Council. Brussels, 12 June 2002 (document 9944/02 SAN 84). Full text

This initiative is rooted in the willingness to co-operate by various European countries, in the light of the serious situation which the epidemiological data of the HIV infection show in a great number of developing countries, where the percentage of HIV infected people reaches and exceeds 30% of the population.

This project arises from the establishment of the "Global Fund to fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria", at the request of the United Nations. One of the goals of this Fund is to bring closer antiretroviral drugs to those countries which, despite being the most affected ones, lack access to these drugs which have been really beneficial to people living with HIV in industrialised countries. The project " HOSPITAL SOLIDARITY NETWORK AGAINST AIDS", counting on the common effort of 5 European countries (France, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg and Portugal) seeks to identify the major health hindrances of developing countries with a view to achieving quality health care and safe prescription of antiretroviral drugs. Thus, we propose the twinning of northern hospitals with those of the least-developed countries, with the aim of collaborating in organisation, management and technical training of health and social staff.

The northern countries are committed to choose the beneficiary countries, noticing the most needy situations and in particular, those regarding the greatest prevalence of HIV infection, bearing in mind the traditional relations of friendship and co-operation.

Spain has identified 12 hospitals in 7 countries in Latin America (Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Dominican Republic) and three hospitals in Africa (Equatorial Guinea and Mozambique) and other hospitals twinned in Spain. The project has been initiated in Guatemala and Ecuador. Luxembourg has identified 2 hospitals in Rwanda. France proposes to work with 28 hospitals in 13 African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Central African Republic, Senegal, Togo, South Africa, Mozambique and Morocco) 1 in Haiti and 7 hospitals in Asia (Vietnam and Cambodia). Italy has identified 19 hospitals in 6 African countries (South Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Uganda, and Mozambique) Portugal and the United States have not yet identified their hospitals.

The creation of the "HOSPITAL SOLIDARITY NETWORK AGAINST AIDS" was officially made public by France, Italy, Spain, and Luxembourg in the Ministerial Conference of Rome on April 9 2002, where Ministers for Health of those countries signed the agreement. Last 23 April, during the meeting of the Global Fund in New York, the United States, represented by the Secretary of State for Health (Minister for Health) Tommy Thompson, officially joined this initiative.

At present, an International Ethical and Scientific Committee is being established. It will be made up of renowned experts in the field of AIDS clinics and public health, both from Europe and the United States and from the beneficiary countries.

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