Citizens endorse radical plan to fight HIV/AIDS

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- A summit attended by people living with AIDS, AIDS commi ssioners, government representatives, development organisations and the UN has e n dorsed a radical plan to end Aids especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, organizers s a id here Monday.
Calling for a new approach to promote safe sex, access to testing, medication an d empowerment, the summit said the ABC approach had failed to stop new infection s , resulting from non-consensual sex especially among women and it alienated chil d ren already born with the virus.
Meeting under the aegis of the global citizen summit in the Kenyan capital from 27-29 May and representing 32 nations of the world, the citizens endorsed an HIV universal testing plan, the WHO/UNAIDS proposed Provider Initiated Testing and C o unselling, increased accountability on HIV funds and sustainable financing for H I V response strategies.
“Many people in Africa know about their HIV seropositivity when they are too ill and their immunity already compromised, Africa cannot therefore afford to conti n ue arguing about tactics of tackling HIV and AIDS when the issue for testing is r aised”, Wasai Nanjakululu, Oxfam’s Director for Global Centre of Learning on HI V and AIDS, said.
“What is needed is a decisive strategy to stop new infections.
We must promote t he human right to live by ensuring that people know about their status early eno u gh to ensure they live a dignified life in the face of HIV and AIDS,” said Leona r d Okello, ActionAid’s head of HIV.
“The church too must think differently and if safer sex is the way to go, so be it…”, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Kenya, Benjamin Nzimbi, said during t h e summit’s closing ceremony.
The citizens also called for AIDS responses to be integrated into a better resou rced primary healthcare system and better coordination of HIV resources by the g o vernment.
They called on donors to channel their AIDS funds through the professional, non- ideological Global Fund which also has representatives from the Northern and Sou t hern governments as well as the civil society organisations.
Bilateral mechanisms’ decisions which some donors have resorted to instead of su pporting Global Fund are shrouded in secrecy as there is no representation in th e decision-making structures of bilateral aid agencies, the communique stated.
Urging southern governments to be more innovative and less dependent on donors, the citizen called for compulsory AIDS levy and establishment of national AIDS e n dowment funds with profits from the citizens’ pension, and national social secur i ty fund.
The summit also called for publishing of accounts by both international and loca l civil society organisations to be part of the new code of non-governmental org a nisation’s practice to promote transparency and accountability.

08 june 2009 14:00:00

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