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Private sector committed to fight AIDS: Rajat Gupta

Suman Guha Mozumder at the United Nations | September 23, 2003 05:16 IST

Rajat Gupta, managing director, McKinsey and Company, and board member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, on Monday reiterated the private sector's commitment to root out the menace.

"The private sector is absolutely committed to lend its shoulders to this fight," Gupta said.

Gupta was addressing a press conference in New York coinciding with the opening of a high-level follow-up meeting on HIV/AIDS.

India was slated to address the session later in the evening.

Gupta said the Fund's success in fundraising rests largely on its ability to establish a "brand name". The Fund, he said, was working actively with publicists to lead that effort.

"The Global Fund needs to establish itself as a global brand in order to be able to mobilise resources not only from governments, but also from individuals," Gupta said.

He said it was critical to tap individual donors, who generally make up 75 to 80 per cent of philanthropic contributions.

The Fund, an independent, public-private partnership, was founded in January 2002 to attract and disburse resources for the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Till date, the Fund has approved grants to 93 countries, including those with the greatest disease burden and those at risk of future disaster. Approvals total $1.5 billion over the two years.

Gupta noted that corporations would not make direct donations to the Fund, but would contribute in other ways. These include innovative fundraising schemes that would allow individual contributions through credit card, hotel billing and other "high-volume" transactions.

Dr Richard Feachem, the Fund's executive director, who also attended the press conference, said international donors, including 40 countries, major foundations and private donors, have pledged $4.7 billion.

"It is not enough but it is a huge step forward from where we were two years ago," he said.

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