MSF Access Campaign in Belgium targets the new EU presidency
Photo manipulation shows the Belgium prime minister suffering from TB.
5 July 2001
With Belgium taking over the next six month presidency of the European Union (EU), MSF in Belgium has launched a postcard campaign showing the Belgium, prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, both as a healthy person and, using photo manipulation, as a victim of tuberculosis. The Access to Essential Medicines event is designed to raise awareness of the issues surrounding research and development for neglected diseases as well as appealing to the Belgian presidency to make access to essential medicines one of the priorities on the political agenda of the next six months - the duration of the Belgium leadership of the EU. MSF is asking the European Union, which is based in Brussels, Belgium, to promote research and development for new treatments for neglected diseases ensure prices of essential medicines are affordable and equitable, by promoting, among other things, the production of quality generic medicines in poor countries. The postcards are being distributed throughout Brussels and are timed to coincide with Mr. Verhofstadt taking on of the EU position. The campaign has received substantial media coverage throughout Belgium. MSF has been carrying out a campaign for Access to Essential Medicines since 1999 and has wished the prime minister, Mr. Verhofstadt, a quick recovery. TB facts Of the 16 million people worldwide suffering from tuberculosis, 80% do not have the means to buy the necessary medicines on a regular basis for a complete cure. As a result, they are exposed to a possible relapse and to developing resistance to traditional antibiotics. If they develop such resistance, the only solution offered, is a BEF 500,000 (Euros 12,400) treatment that does not exist in poor countries.