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March 11, 2013

Few children at the pediatric tuberculosis hospital in Dushanbe look as active and healthy as Shirinmo*. The little girl is bright and busy as she crawls across the waiting room floor. But get closer and you can hear that her breath comes in gasps and has a rattling sound. The devastating diagnosis: the nine-month-old is suffering from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a disease that spreads easily and, if left untreated, kills.

The Executive Board of UNITAID, the international health financing agency, will meet Dec. 14-15 in Geneva to decide on the future direction of the Patent Pool for AIDS medicines. International medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is concerned that a number of pharmaceutical companies are seeking to exclude developing countries categorized as ‘middle-income’ from benefiting from medicines made under licence from the Pool.  If these companies are successful, people living with HIV/AIDS will be made to pay the price.

Doctor, psychologist and nurse will travel to affected and isolated areas.

Neglect can be overcome and millions of lives can be saved.