Beijing: International health organisations today lauded India for providing effective and
affordable medicines to combat Meningitis and HIV/AIDS in Africa and South America.
Appreciating India`s role, the Director General of World Health Organisation, (WHO), Dr Margaret Chan made a particular mention of the supply of medicines at an affordable cost by Indian pharmaceutical companies to help dealing with the outbreak of Meningitis in Africa at the first BRICS Health Ministers conference here.
Union Health Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad along with Ministers from member countries attended the conference.
While all the multi national companies declined to supply the vaccine at cheaper rates Serum Institute of India did so for as cheap as 50 cents for a unit, which saved millions of lives in Africa, Chan said.
The conference was held here today to discuss steps to deepen cooperation and coordination among the member countries on health related issues.
Chan said the vaccine made a big difference for people in Africa as any one affected by the disease would have to stay out of work for several months there by loosing their
pay, which in turn would have caused severe financial stress to their families.
She also praised collaborative efforts in this regard between WHO and India in supplying the medicines to low and middle income countries.
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe also praised India for the supply of anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs by their companies at an affordable cost helping millions of people in Africa and South America suffering from HIV and AIDS.
These countries have one third of HIV positive cases in the world, he pointed out.
India provided 86 per cent of world`s anti-retroviral therapy drugs and had it not been for the supply of medicines from India, the cost of treatment would have been prohibitively high, Michel added.