G8: Unkept promises
30 May 2003
In 2000, G8 members meeting in Okinawa, Japan made several promises to fight against infectious diseases, especially AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. These promises were reiterated at the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Conference in December, 2000, where the G8 heads of state set certain objectives to be met by the year 2010:
Reduce by 25% the number of young people infected by HIV/AIDS
Reduce by 50% the rate of tuberculosis prevalence and mortality
Reduce by 50% the burden of disease associated with malaria.
These goals are far from being reached; in fact the situation for these three diseases has deteriorated significantly:
The number of HIV-infected children under the age of 15 has almost tripled, from 1.3 million in 2000 to 3.2 million in 2002. In the same period, the overall number of people infected with HIV increased from 34 to 42 million. More than 3 million people died from HIV/AIDS in 2002.
The overall prevalence rate of tuberculosis has increased slightly (by 1.5%). However, the increase is 4 times greater in Africa.
Malaria incidence remains unchanged, but mortality amongst children under the age of 5 has increased 2 to 5 times in parts of Africa, in parallel with growing drug resistance.
MSF appeals to G8 members at this year's summit to respect their promises, to show a true political will and mobilise the financial resources necessary to avoid the deaths and the human suffering caused by infectious diseases in developing countries.
Each year, on the occasion of the annual G8 summits, MSF reminds G8 leaders that their summit is an opportunity for the world's wealthiest countries to follow up their pledges with concrete action.
Each year, we continue to witness unnecessary deaths, a result of the political failure to put into action promises made.
This year, we call on G8 member states to uphold the commitments they have made at previous summits and to mount a credible response to the death, destruction and human suffering caused by infectious diseases in developing countries.