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Ministerial and Other Meetings

Statement by the G8 Health Ministers
Moscow, April 28, 2006

1. We, G8 Health Ministers met, for the very first time, in Moscow, on April 28, 2006, during Russia's Presidency of the G8 in 2006, to address threats to public health and to discuss the highest priorities for cooperation in our mutual efforts to combat communicable diseases and protect human health. We are pleased that as usual at G8 meetings, the European Union joined us and that Health Ministers from Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa, and representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the World Bank joined us for a part of our discussion.

2. We welcomed the decision to include the prevention and control of communicable diseases on the agenda of the G8 Leaders' Summit in St.-Petersburg.

3. We recognize that ongoing epidemics of communicable diseases have a heavy socio-economic impact in addition to the burden they place on health systems.

4. Risks associated with pandemics and newly emerging infections still exist. It is extremely important to strengthen communicable disease global surveillance, detection and identification in terms of global public health. We recognize that improving the health of populations by strengthening health systems, including improved human resource management, enhancing the quality of health care, supporting research and development, providing access to preventive interventions and treatment, is one of the crucial requirements for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

5. In this regard we commend the work of the WHO in tackling global health issues from all perspectives, including the issues surrounding health workers as published in the World Health Report 2006.

6. We note with grave concern that millions of children die annually and half of these deaths are a consequence of communicable diseases, which require prevention and specific treatment.

7. We recognize that improving donor coordination will enhance international aid effectiveness to support the fight against communicable diseases.

8. We noted with concern the increasing spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza. We discussed the possible development of a human influenza pandemic that could severely affect all countries of the world.
We believe that priority efforts should focus on the early detection and control of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza at its source as well as on the prevention of and preparedness for a potential human influenza pandemic.
We recognize the importance of pandemic preparedness and prevention through the provision of treatment means, communications strategies, public awareness campaigns, close coordination between veterinary and public health authorities, support for and cooperation in research activities and development of new technologies and new means of treatment. We welcome and support the global early warning system coordinated jointly by the WHO, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In order to prevent or delay occurrence of a human influenza pandemic, we should develop our capacities for early detection and containment of an outbreak of the human-to-human infection on national, cross border, regional and international level as recommended at the Conference held in Tokyo on January 12-13, 2006.
We believe the revised International Health Regulations (IHRs), is an important instrument for development of core capacities, the exchange of epidemiologic information, quick mutual response and consultations to prevent the pandemic.
Because the universal application of the IHRs will be beneficial to the world we support their early voluntary implementation by countries and we are looking forward to seeing this document introduced into practice very soon.
In conformity with the IHRs we are committed to closely cooperate with each other and with relevant international organizations in encouraging provision of prompt and transparent exchange of information about and, in accordance with national and international procedures, samples of novel influenza strains with pandemic potential.

We reaffirm our support and commitment to use the WHO-administered Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.
We will continue to develop our preparedness for a pandemic, including risk communication strategies, medical and public health services, research and development of new technologies including vaccines and new means of treatment. We will share information on our pandemic preparedness plans. We encourage the development of research and technical cooperation with countries that need strengthening of their public health systems, including strengthening laboratory and health human resource capacity to combat influenza.
We welcome the commitment given by the Russian Federation both to increase the capacity of public health systems in Central Asia and to develop collaboration among the public health authorities of this Region.
We welcome the political and financial commitments made at the Beijing Pledging Conference of 17 and 18 January 2006 and are looking forward to follow-up reports by the World Bank and action to be discussed and decided upon at the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza (IPAPI)/ European Union (EU) Vienna senior officials meeting on avian and human pandemic influenza on 6-7 June 2006 open to any interested countries and relevant international organizations.

We recognize the leading role of the WHO, FAO, OIE, the role of the UN System Influenza Coordination Office (UNSIC) and international financial institutions in addressing these global threats and commit ourselves to support this work.

9. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria remain a major threat to global progress, development and security throughout the world.

At last year's Gleneagles Summit focused on Africa, our leaders agreed to work with WHO, UNAIDS and other bodies to develop and implement a package for HIV prevention, treatment and care, with the aim of as close as possible to universal access to treatment for all those who need it by 2010. We call on the UNAIDS and its co-sponsors to provide reports and updates on global progress towards this goal. We look forward to discussions by the Africa Partnership Forum on means to advance objectives on HIV/AIDS, and stand ready to assist in implementation, as appropriate.

We look forward to the UN General Assembly Review and High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, 31 May- 2 June, in follow-up to the 2001 Special Session and the Declaration of Commitment, which we expect will give an additional impetus to international efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.

We take note of coming international events to advance the efforts to fight HIV/AIDS including the Summit of African Heads of State and Government on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (Abuja, Nigeria, May), the Conference on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Moscow, the Russian Federation, May), and the 16th International AIDS Conference (Toronto, Canada, August).

We support the STOP-TB partnership's Global Plan, 2006-2015, which is underpinned by the new STOP-TB strategy of WHO, which also includes measures against TB/HIV co-epidemic and the serious threat of multidrug-resistant TB.

Malaria remains a major problem in many areas of the world. We will continue to support effective interventions and we consider the emergence of drug resistance to be a concern. We welcome the Roll Back Malaria Partnership of the WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank and other international organizations.

We support the efforts of WHO, UNAIDS, the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in collaboration with civil society, the private sector and governments in combating these diseases.

We recognize of the need to mobilize resources, both financial and human, domestically and internationally, to support the fight against these diseases, through a variety of means, including traditional development assistance, and innovative financing mechanisms designed to raise revenue from non-traditional sources, which promote investment in the development and production and better accessibility of drugs, vaccines, and microbicides against HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other diseases. We note progress in implementing the Sea Island commitment to establish a Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. We emphasize the critical need for continued financing through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

10. We reaffirm our determination to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. There are sound reasons to believe that as a result of unprecedented measures taken by the international community we are now, as estimated by the WHO, at the threshold of eradicating this disease. We will continue to work with bilateral and multilateral institutions and other stakeholders towards reaching the goal of declaring the planet polio-free in the near future.

With the achievement of eradication we encourage WHO to explore the feasibility of extending the Polio Surveillance Network to enhance surveillance for other communicable diseases of public health importance.

11. The frequency and severity of natural and man-made disasters is a global concern. These disasters have far reaching and long lasting impacts on the overall health of affected populations, their health care and public health systems and economies.

These impacts can be mitigated significantly through improving coordination of institutions and organizations which work for the health components of the short term international relief efforts.

We recognize the importance of effective coordination between the bodies established within the UN system such as the WHO, the UN High Commission on Refugees, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to ensure that efficient and effective systems can be rapidly deployed and coordinated to manage relief efforts, including improved health action in crisis. 

12. We are convinced that research and development, including those in the field of prevention and treatment of communicable diseases, is an integral part of comprehensive measures to control infections. In this connection, we intend to continue to collaborate on bilateral and multilateral levels with the public and private sectors and to involve developing countries in their efforts to develop their science and technology capacity.

13. In the modern world, the problems caused by communicable diseases cannot be solved only in individual countries or regions. We agree that bridging the gap in levels of capacity, for example in research, human resources, and development of health systems in all countries is an important element in ensuring substantial progress to the control of communicable diseases worldwide.

Source: Official website of the Russian Presidency of the G8

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