Monday, October 20, 2008

President holds meeting on fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and drug addiction

President Victor Yushchenko held a meeting of the Coordinative Board on problems of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and drug addiction.

The participants of the meeting were the UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNAIDS Peter Piot, Minister for Health Vasyl Knyazevych, Minister for Labor Lyudmyla Denysova, Minister for Family Yuriy Pavlenko, Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko, deputy Chief of Staff of Presidential Secretariat Yuriy Bohutsky, co-founder of the ANTIAIDS Foundation Elena Franchuk.

Opening the meeting President Yushchenko pointed to positive shift this year in fighting HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. According to him almost 9 thousand people with HIV/AIDS gained access to antiretroviral therapy thanks to support of the Global Fund. Also, opening of children’s HIV/AIDS clinic in May 2008 in President’s words was “a great achievement”.

At the same time President Yushchenko said that it is only the beginning of hard work on fighting HIV/AIDS in Ukraine because numbers of ill Ukrainians are still growing. Particular concerns President expressed about growing numbers of HIV positive women and thus number of infected children they give birth to.

In that context President pointed to the problem of drug addiction and said that it is important to fight drug trafficking in order to decrease this HIV/AIDS threatened group.

“I would like to use capabilities of our today’s meeting… to make our efforts more coordinated and clear”, - said Victor Yushchenko addressing those present.

He also stressed hope that at today’s meeting the participants will be able to suggest effective measures against HIV/AIDS.