by VR Sreeraman on  July 7, 2009 at 3:06 PM Tropical Disease News
 Developing Nations Need $1 Billion To Fight Swine Flu: UN
Developing countries could need about one billion dollars by the end of the year to fund measures against the swine flu pandemic, especially vaccines, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.

Asked about his estimate of their needs ahead of a meeting with donor nations on funding for influenza A (H1N1), Ban said: "For the remainder of this year our estimate is that we may need a little over one billion dollars."

Funding had "not been flowing as expected," following appeals in recent weeks, he added.

More resources were needed especially to fund swine flu vaccines for developing nations that could not afford them, he added.

"This pandemic flu is also a sort of a global crisis which needs global response through global partnership and solidarity," said Ban.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan was due to take part in the meeting with representatives of main potential donor nations in Geneva.

Chan said last week that access to a swine flu vaccine remained a "critical question."

A senior official at the UN health agency suggested that obtaining "political goodwill" for support to poor nations was problematic.

Ban noted that a swine flu vaccine was in the pipeline for August and that pharmaceutical companies had made commitments on supply.

Latest figures from the World Health Organisation released Monday showed that swine flu was continuing to spread around the world since first being detected in Mexico and United States last April.

Some 94,512 people have been infected in more than 130 countries and territories, as the virus continues to make inroads in the southern hemisphere during the main flu season.

However, countries such as the United States believe they have had far more untested cases because of its relatively mild symptoms.

US officials have estimated that there have been a million cases in the country.

Source: AFP

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