On 28 April, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon led a high-level mission to Mumbai, India in support of the Every Woman Every Child initiative. During the visit, the Secretary-General commended Indian officials for the progress made in the AIDS response. Mr Ban also encouraged the Government of India to continue efforts to eliminate new paediatric HIV infections by 2015—one of the objectives of the Secretary-General’s five-year action plan.
The Every Woman Every Child initiative is a global effort that was launched in 2010 by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize and intensify global action to save the lives of 16 million women and children and improve the lives of millions more.
Mr Ban was joined by senior UN health officials including the Director-General of the World Health Organization Margaret Chan, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Michel Sidibé, the Deputy Executive Director from the UN Children's Fund, Geeta Rao Gupta and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers.
During the visit the Secretary-General, Mrs Ban and his delegation visited Cama Hospital and the Sir J.J. Hospital—two leading health facilities in the Indian state of Maharashtra that provide health services for pregnant women and children.
Mr Ban’s mission concluded with a high level reception hosted by Millennium Development Goals advocates Mukesh Ambani and Ray Chambers, which featured interaction with some of India’s leading AIDS activists, people living with HIV, business and government officials as well as film stars and sports legends. During the reception the Mr Ban announced the appointment of Mr Prasada Rao as his new Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in the Asia-Pacific region.
The UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé travelled to India’s capital New Delhi where he met with the Minister of Health and Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad. During their meeting, Mr Sidibé commended India for its new National AIDS Control Programme (NACP-IV) which was developed by national experts and will be funded primarily from domestic sources.
Mr Sidibé paid special attention to India’s role and contribution as a priority country in the implementation of the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive. It is expected that the national recommendations on the elimination of new HIV infections among children in India will phase-out of single dose nevirapine in the coming months. Mr Sidibé had the opportunity to see first-hand how services to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission are being scaled-up at the Ambedkar Hospital, one of Delhi’s largest hospitals.
A high level round table organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and UNAIDS brought together more than 50 participants including leading representatives from the Indian pharmaceutical industry and the government under the theme “India’s partnership with Africa in pharmaceuticals”. Mr Sidibé encouraged the Indian pharmaceutical industry to seize the opportunities to scale up access to HIV treatment in Africa and engage as strategic partner for the development of pharmaceutical production in Africa.