Kofi Annan pleads for equal access to AIDS treatment

Kinshasa- DR Congo (PANA) -- United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has appealed for equal access to HIV/AIDS drugs for people who have "the means to pay for treatment and the poor" in a bid to curb the incurable disease.
Annan made this appeal on Sunday when he and his wife visited people living with HIV/AIDS at the Kinshasa general hospital.
The UN Secretary General called for the total involvement of the international community in the fight against AIDS for which he has initiated a world fund.
"AIDS affects both rich and poor although it is the poor suffer more" observed the head of the UN, noting the contradiction between the existence of medicines and the fact that they were not accessible to all.
Annan, who was on a three-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, promised an undisclosed UN assistance to the general hospital.
"Even if we cannot cure the patients, we can at least help them with drugs," he said.
Meanwhile, the DRC health minister, Dr.
Mashako Mamba, told Annan that the Kinshasa General Hospital "symbolises the suffering of the Congolese people affected by a war of aggression which has multiplied HIV/AIDS infection rates by four.
"One out of every five Congolese carries the AIDS virus while children in the occupied territories have no access to vaccination," said Dr Mamba.
The UN secretary general's wife also visited the Kalembe-lembe paediatric hospital, in the Lingwala commune, which treats about a 1,000 children living with AIDS.
She promised UN financial assistance to the hospital known for its high infant mortality.
Mrs Annan also visited the Gombe rehabilitation centre For the disabled where she commended the commitment of the medical staff.
She also promised UN assistance to the centre, which lacks the required material.
While visiting the Kinshasa Arts Academy, the Secretary General's wife was presented a fish-shaped wooden carving, symbolising the hunger facing Congolese children.

03 september 2001 14:12:00

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