Unitaid’s new strategy will focus on reducing inequities in health access

GENEVA, 15 December – Unitaid has adopted a new five-year strategy that will enable it to support global efforts to end HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis over the next two decades and help reduce inequities in access to healthcare.

The strategy, approved at a two-day meeting of the Executive Board that ended on Wednesday, positions Unitaid to best serve the global response to the three diseases in a fast-changing health and development environment.

The Sustainable Development Goals signal a major shift in perspective, setting out over the next 15 years to reduce inequities among populations and to promote access to healthcare as a basic human right.

“I greatly welcomed the commitment and determination shown by the Board in approving an ambitious new strategy that will guide Unitaid for the next five years,” said Unitaid Chair Celso Amorim.

Unitaid’s strategic objectives for 2017-21 are to promote innovation, catalyse equitable access to better health products and to create the right conditions for scale-up, so that better health products reach all the people who need them.

Unitaid is also committed to reduce inequities in access to better health products and to make the best use of every dollar it invests while producing measurable results. It also coordinates its work with countries and partners to ensure Unitaid projects best serve the global response.

Unitaid will maintain its commitments to HIV/AIDS – including co-infections such as hepatitis C – tuberculosis and malaria and also support increased access to health products and effectiveness of care.  It will fund more projects supporting integration in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.

A number of Strategic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were approved by the Board to monitor Unitaid’s performance against the new strategy.

The Board also agreed that Unitaid should focus on expanding access to HIV self-testing in low and middle income countries, where 14 million people living with the virus are unaware of their status and need to be identified for ambitious global health targets to be reached.

Despite a dramatic increase in access to HIV testing services over the last two decades, several key population groups, among them adolescents, men and partners of people with HIV, elude existing approaches to testing.

“Unitaid has received a strong endorsement from the Executive Board to pursue a bold approach to investments in innovation,“ said Unitaid’s Executive Director, Lelio Marmora. “Reaching ambitious global health targets will require us to take calculated risks in order to make the best health products widely available to those most in need.”

Unitaid will be inviting applications for funding – known as a call for proposals – in the coming weeks in the specific area of ramping up self-testing.

The Board also approved the launch of targeted calls for proposals aimed at  overcoming  intellectual property barriers where they hinder access to and affordable medicines in developing countries.

Read more: UNITAID Strategy 2017-2021 [PDF, 670 KB]