Nigeria urges support for Africa's AIDS fight

New York- US (PANA) -- Nigeria has appealed for international support for Africa's efforts to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which it says endangers the continent's future.
The Permanent Secretary in Nigeria's Women Affairs and Youth Development Ministry, Peter Okunromade told a meeting in New York Tuesday, ahead of the UN Special Session on Children, that AIDS has become the greatest immediate obstacle to the survival and development of children and women in Africa.
"The epidemic has orphaned 13 million children, out of which 90 percent are in Africa," he said.
The official noted that African leaders have led a crusade against the epidemic, the latest being the African Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other Infectious Diseases held in Abuja in April.
At that meeting, Okunromade said African leaders decided that each country allocate 15 percent of its annual budget to health, with much of the resources committed to fight AIDS.
But he stressed that the continent needed the support of international partners in this effort.
Such support, he said, could come through an increase in official development assistance and the tackling of the continent's debt burden.
Aside from the AIDS, the Permanent Secretary said Africa also faced the problems of conflicts and the education of its children, noting that conflicts have exposed children and women to insecurity, leaving many disabled and others made part of the fighting force.
"There are entire generations that have known only brutal armed conflicts and insecurity," Okunromade said.
He called for the protection of children caught in conflict and the demobilisation and rehabilitation of child soldiers as well as international efforts to end the inclusion of children in the fighting force.
The preparatory meeting, which began Monday ends Friday.
Participants are expected to come out with proposals for adoption at the Special UN Session on children in September.

12 june 2001 22:51:00

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