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Global Health Initiative Catalyses New China Health Alliance Against TB And AIDS


Groundbreaking World Economic Forum Partnership Unites Businesses and the Chinese Government in Response to Growing Public Health Threats

Beijing , 11 September 2006 – A new public-private partnership to address TB and AIDS in China is being launched today by the Global Health Initiative of the World Economic Forum. The China Health Alliance is a groundbreaking initiative that brings together select companies, the Chinese government, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations in a joint effort to respond to the growing economic and social threat of AIDS and tuberculosis in China.

Huang Jiefu, Vice-Minister of Health of the People’s Republic of China, has previously extended Chinese Ministry of Health’s support to the Alliance in writing, “We applaud the commitments and efforts by the World Economic Forum to initiate the public-private partnership for health in China . This Ministry stands ready to provide support in the future development of the China Health Alliance, and it is my firm conviction that the joint efforts and synergy of the competencies of each partner in the Alliance will contribute positively to China ’s health development”.

The core focus of the China Health Alliance will be to create and implement migrant worker TB and HIV workplace programmes. Chinese migrant workers in rural areas account for 80% of China’s cases of TB. With the heavy influx of migrant workers relocating from poor rural areas to urban cities, curbing the spread of large-scale TB and HIV co-infection remains an immense challenge.

“Migrant workers are the toughest to reach with policies and programmes. Business is ideally placed to reach out to them and this is why we believe the China Health Alliance is a major step. The Global Health Initiative has already secured in-kind resources from companies to coordinate this programme that could provide TB and HIV services to up to 5 million people,” said Francesca Boldrini, Director, Global Health Initiative of the World Economic Forum. “Our experience proves that when the public and private sectors come together to tackle these diseases, a real step change in the response can be noted,” added Boldrini.

A number of activities have already taken place as part of the new Alliance, with companies such as Swire Beverages implementing workplace policies and programmes for their immediate workforce. These kind of actions by member companies represent the first phase of Alliance activities. The second step will be to implement a pilot programme in Guangdong province that specifically targets migrant workers employed by suppliers of a number of member companies.

Founding members and partners of the China Health Alliance to date include: Accenture, BD, China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), Constella Futures, Esquel, Institute of Contemporary Observation, iKang, Karstadt Quelle, Marie Stopes International China, Pfizer, Social Accountability International, Swire Beverages, UNAIDS, UNDP, World Health Organization (WHO) and World Vision International. Each member is already actively supporting the set-up and implementation of the Alliance ’s programmes.

“Partnering with the private sector provides a unique opportunity to dramatically increase the reach of AIDS programmes in China,” said Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). “I hope that more companies will join this China Health Alliance to fight TB and AIDS, and congratulate those companies that have already joined this effort,” added Piot.

Note to Editors:

About the China Health Alliance (CHA)

A new public-private partnership (PPP), catalysed by the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Initiative, among the Chinese government, select companies, select international organizations and NGOs. This new China Health Alliance and PPP is designed to educate, test, treat and support Chinese company employees, especially migrant workers, at risk of TB and AIDS. It will also raise public awareness of these growing public health threats in China . A pilot project is starting in Guangdong province this autumn and will expand into more provinces as the programme gains critical mass over the next 24 months.

About TB and AIDS in China

China ranks second in the world behind India in TB infections. It is estimated that 45% of the population in China is infected with a latent form of TB and the current number of active cases stands at 4.5 million, representing 15% of the global total. TB deaths exceed 250,000 per year and there is an increased risk of a dramatic rise in China ’s TB epidemic associated with HIV. The AIDS epidemic continues to grow in China . At the end of 2005, it was estimated that 650,000 people were living with HIV. Globally, an estimated 38.6 million people worldwide are living with HIV.

About the Global Health Initiative (GHI) of the World Economic Forum

The GHI provides a unique platform for catalysing public-private partnerships in health and driving action on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria at the regional, national and international levels. To achieve this goal, the GHI works closely with the World Economic Forum’s member and partner companies as well as UNAIDS, the boards of the Global Fund and the Global Partnership along with the World Health Organization’s Stop TB and Roll Back Malaria partnerships. In addition to these, the GHI successfully engages with a broad range of NGOs and other members of civil society, as well as governments from across the world, effectively stimulating public-private dialogue in world health.

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