SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea became the first Asian country to host a global health initiative conference to combat tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and malaria, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said Wednesday.
During the two-day executive board meeting of Unitaid, which runs through Thursday in Seoul, around 80 representatives from Unitaid, aid recipient countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) will seek ways to better diagnose and treat the three contagious diseases and support the development of necessary medical equipment, according to the KCDC.
The participants will also discuss ways to lower treatment costs, improve the quality of drugs and support innovation to allow developing countries to receive timely assistance.
South Korea is the only Asian country to hold full-fledged membership of the independent health organization, which works with the WHO to help low- and middle-income countries.
Since 2018 it has held a seat on Unitaid's decision-making board.
The organization was launched in 2006, spearheaded by France, Britain, Norway, Brazil and Chile. Unitaid had secured US$3 billion in funding as of last year to conduct various programs.
Seoul provided $59 million in support to the initiative in the 2008-2018 period and has agreed to continue providing assistance through 2021.
The country imposes a so-called air-ticket solidarity levy of 1,000 won ($0.85) on all outbound air travelers, with the money going to Unitaid and other international health care initiatives.
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