Africa seeks Tsunami-style mobilisation for HIV/AIDS funds

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- The African Union (AU) Commission is seeking a Tsunami-style mobilisation of resources to enable the continent tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis and meet the Millennium Development Goals of halting the spread of the disease by 2015.
AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Advocate Bience Gawanas, told journalists in Abuja on Monday that the "overwhelming result" of the funds mobilisation for the Tsunami disaster showed where there was a will, there was a way.
"We (Africa) also have our own Tsunami-type disaster in HIV/AIDS.
We should be able to mobilise resources for this disease that has been killing people for decades," she said.
Gawanas noted, however, that African leaders believed in the mobilisation of local resources in addition to international funds for the battle against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious killer diseases.
Though Africa is home to 10 per cent of the world's population, 60 per cent of all people living with HIV/AIDS are in Africa.
In 2004 alone, 3.
1 million Africans were infected with the virus that causes AIDS, while 25.
4 million people have died from the disease so far.
HIV/AIDS and food security are on top of the agenda of the current mid-term summit of the AU in the Nigerian capital.
Gawanas said the Abuja meeting offered a good chance to assess the progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS since 2001, when they also met in the Nigerian capital to discuss the pandemic.
She described the summit as "a kickoff of the process of preparing for the mid-term review of the MDGs" in September 2005.
"Resource mobilisation remains the fundamental issue if we are to meet the target.
We do not need new strategies.
We need to urge the international community to meet their commitments," Gawanas said.
Reminded that only Mozambique has met the target of setting aside 15 per cent of annual national budgets for health, which was part of the Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, the AU Commissioner said the leaders made the commitment willingly and would hold themselves to it without coercion.

31 january 2005 14:32:00

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