Pyongyang, March 13 (KCNA) — Kim Hyong Hun, vice-minister of Public Health of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, sent a letter to Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, on Mar. 10, which said:
I have received a letter with a surprise from Mr. Mark Edington, Division Head of the Grant Management of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria dated 22 February 2018 informing that the Global Fund is closing its grants in the DPRK by 30 June 2018.
Although the Global Fund claims that the sudden closure of tuberculosis and malaria grants is due to the “unique operating environment” in the DPRK, it can’t be seen other than the outcome of the pressure of some hostile forces.
This can be proved by the fact that the current closure of tuberculosis and malaria grants was decided without any prior discussion with UNICEF and WHO, both the Principal Recipient and the Sub-Recipient of TB & Malaria programs and moreover, it is timed with announcement of the “maximum pressure” imposed on the DPRK by the U.S.
We appreciate the assistance provided by the Global Fund for its substantial contribution to our efforts for eradicating TB and Malaria in the DPRK.
The DPRK Government, in concerted efforts with UNICEF and WHO, has been making progress in its endeavors to eradicate TB and Malaria. However, the Global Fund has notified the closing of the grants unilaterally, without any consideration of aftereffects of the closure which constitutes nothing but an extremely abnormal and inhumane measure.
In this connection, even the UN agencies, which are implementing TB and Malaria programs in the DPRK, have expressed their concern about possible increase of thousands of MDR TB patients every year among patients who have been treated by GF-provided TB medicines, which would eventually lead to a quick spread among children and other people. Hence they are of the view that the grants should never be closed on any account.
Therefore, I strongly urge that the Global Fund should consider carefully about the humanitarian impact that could be incurred from the closure of grants, assume due responsibility for it and take measures to put the issue on the right track in conformity with the humanitarian mission before it is too late.
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