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The United Nations' secretary general, Kofi Annan, began last week to describe the details of a planned fund to combat major diseases in developing countries.
The Global AIDS and Health Fund, first mentioned by Mr Annan last month at an African leaders' summit (5 May, p 1082), will target not only AIDS, as first suggested, but also tuberculosis and malaria.
In a speech to delegates at the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization's annual “shareholders” meeting in Geneva last week, Mr Annan emphasised that the $10bn (£7bn) fund should be new money, not just another channel for existing development budgets, as some critics had feared.
The United States earlier this month announced that it would donate $200m to the fund, and Mr Annan hinted that other donors had indicated a strong interest, although none had announced a donation as the BMJ went to press.
Many observers had asked how the fund would be governed and to whom it would be accountable. Mr Annan sought to answer their questions in his speech.
The fund's board should be made up, he said, of governments from developing countries and donor countries; UN agencies; the private sector; and non-governmental organisations. An independent advisory body of technical experts in health and development should guide its funding decisions.
Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Harvard Center for International Development, welcomed the details of the fund's governance, saying that it was important that developing countries should be represented on the board and that independent experts should advise it. But he warned that donors would have to increase their contributions sharply.
Full story in News Extra at bmj.com