African health-worker training scheme unveiled
Round-up:US economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute, has presented a plan in Davos to train one million community health workers for sub-Saharan Africa.
The campaign, supported by a $1 million donation from drug company Novartis, envisions a substantial expansion and training of existing community health workers by 2015.
Mr Sachs said the plan was to attract further donations from software and telecoms companies, as well as investment by African governments themselves.
Funds raised will be used to buy smartphones and develop software to aid health worker communication in sub-Saharan Africa, where one in 10 children die before the age of five.
“If you go to villages in rural Africa you will find workers with no training and no supplies,” he said. “With Novartis we are trying to get this off the ground for a lot more money to come in.”
Meanwhile, Germany has announced plans to boost to €1 billion its contribution to the Global Fund.
Germany has already committed €400 million over the past two years to the Geneva-based financing agency that disburses funds to combat HIV/Aids, TB and malaria.
“We need to continue to devote hard work and determined efforts to halting the spread of HIV, malaria and other infectious diseases,” said Dirk Niebel, German development minister.
“We are close to turning the tide. I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of Aids.”
Global Fund executive director Mark Dybul was similar optimistic. “We can defeat Aids, TB and malaria. We are at a critical moment for funding, and we need a big push this year.”
Some 1,000 fund programmes provide HIV/Aids medication for 4.2 million people, anti-TB treatment for 9.7 million people and 310 million insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria.