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Medical News & Perspectives
July 4, 2001

Global Issues on the Agenda at the World Health Assembly

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JAMA. 2001;286(1):29-30. doi:10.1001/jama.286.1.29

Geneva—At the World Health Assembly (the annual meeting of the member states of the World Health Organization [WHO]), held here in May, some of the high-priority issues discussed included HIV/AIDS, the WHO policy on medicines, leprosy, and recommendations for infant and young child feeding.

The worldwide HIV/AIDS pandemic and the "Global Fund" that was suggested a year ago to fight specific diseases in developing countries were subjects of particular interest at this meeting. At the meeting of the seven major industrialized countries (the G7) in Okinawa, Japan, in 2000, these countries committed themselves to take extraordinary steps to improve the health of people in poorer countries, especially by mounting an attack on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. At the Assembly in Geneva, a World Bank representative said in an interview that Japan had committed $3 billion to $4 billion a year for this purpose. In early May, the United States announced that it was donating $200 million to the Fund, with larger amounts to follow in the future.

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