Published: Wednesday 31 January 2001

-- It is possible to combat deadly diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. That's what a new report jointly issued by six United Nations agencies claim. The targets for reducing the toll of these illnesses, set by world's leaders at successive summits over the last year are feasible, states the report. "What is needed are the funds and systems that will enable widespread implementation of action that have shown to be effective," the report says.

The report Health, a key to prosperity: success stories in developing countries has been jointly published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Bank. "The prospects of intervening to prevent death in developing countries have never been better," said Gro Harlem Brundtland, director-general of WHO. The report lists success stories regarding fighting these killer diseases from 20 different countries. "The stories demonstrate that success is possible even when resources are scarce," says James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank. The report identifies six important characteristics of programmes that have succeeded to control diseases of poverty. The characteristics include political commitment; partnerships with the private sector, non-governmental organisations and UN agencies; encouraging innovations; promoting home as the first hospital; widespread availability of medicines supplies; and measuring results.

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