Xi Jinping's wife joins TB-HIV fight

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 June, 2011, 12:00am


The wife of the man tipped to be the next president and Communist Party chief has been appointed as the World Health Organisation goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and Aids.

Folk singer Peng Liyuan, the wife of Vice-President Xi Jinping, would help raise international awareness of the two diseases, WHO director general Dr Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun said at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

Peng will also push for stronger action to ensure those in need can access prevention and treatment services, according to the organisation's website.

'It is a great honour to be given this important role by the WHO,' the website quoted Peng as saying. 'I hope to make a significant contribution to the great work of the WHO in saving lives from TB and HIV/Aids, and that my involvement will benefit those who are most at risk.'

Peng, 48, became a household name for her song On the Field of Hope in the 1980s.

For more than five years, she has worked with the Ministry of Health to spread awareness about preventable diseases, the WHO website says.

In 2006, she performed in various places, including Canada, to raise money to educate mainland children affected by Aids, Xinhua reported.

Chan said tuberculosis and Aids killed 3.5 million people each year.

In 2009, there were an estimated 9.4 million new TB cases worldwide.

Of those new cases, an estimated 1.1 million were among people living with HIV.

TB also caused 1.7 million deaths that year, including 380,000 among HIV-positive people.