Drugs funding programme UNITAID said Wednesday it had agreed a deal with three travel booking systems that will allow holidaymakers to make a voluntary two dollar donation to fight disease in some of the world's poorest countries.
Philippe Douste-Blazy, the chairman of UNITAID which finds innovative financing for drugs to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, told AFP that he expected the system to be in place by the end of 2009.
"I hope that we are going to launch the first global, voluntary micro donation ... by the end of the year," he said on the sidelines of a conference in Oslo.
All airline passengers booking their tickets online will be able to make a voluntary donation to UNITAID by ticking a box when completing their purchase.
The money will then be used to buy medication and drugs to combat major diseases.
UNITAID has signed the agreement with Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport.
Two billion of the 2.5 billion airline tickets sold each year are sold online, Douste-Blazy said.
This new initiative comes alongside a solidarity tax which was launched by France in 2006 and now adopted by some 12 countries.
The former French health minister added that a study by the McKinsey consulting firm showed the voluntary donations would enable UNITAID to collect several hundred million dollars in extra funds.
Douste-Blazy said the solidarity tax had raised some 350 million dollars a year to fight disease.
UNITAID together with the Clinton Foundation already funds the treatment of three out of four children affected by AIDS, he said.
Although not part of the United Nations, the organisation is backed by the World Health Organization.