Archive for March 13th, 2011

Cuba Denounces US Seizure of Health Funds

March 13, 2011

On Friday, Cuba denounced another outrage committed by the United States as part of its half-century long blockade, this time the seizure by US officials of more than 4 million dollars in funds allocated to Cuba by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the first quarter of 2011.

Sadly, this latest disgrace is just one example of a long list of extraterritorial application of the US’ economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, said Orlando Hernandez, Cuban vice minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, reported Prensa Latina.

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control froze the funds granted to the Cuban healthcare system in January, according to a January report by the United Nations Development Program, said Hernandez.

This annual financing had been allocated by the World Fund against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for projects in Cuba

The seizure of funds is an illegal act that seriously obstructs the international cooperation provided by the UN system through its funds and programs. Worse still, the seized funds are for combating and preventing pandemics that the Cuban government and international community are devoting their greatest efforts to eradicate, said Hernandez.

The official statement emphasized that this unilateral measure by the US would affect the implementation and continuation of social projects focused on vulnerable groups of the Cuban population, as well as the universal nature of UN agencies, funds and programs.

The Global Fund is a unique global public/private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents a new approach to international health financing. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts dealing with the three diseases.

Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the dominant financier of programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, with approved funding of US$ 21.7 billion for more than 600 programs in 150 countries. To date, programs supported by the Global Fund have saved 6.5 million lives through providing AIDS treatment for 3 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 7.7 million people and the distribution of 160 million insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria.

Global Fund financing is enabling countries to strengthen health systems by, for example, making improvements to infrastructure and providing training to those who deliver services. The Global Fund remains committed to working in partnership to scale up the fight against the diseases and to realize its vision – a world free of the burden of AIDS, TB and malaria.
(JR)


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