African Union Summit Focuses On Disease

The special summit of the African Union on HIV /Aids entered its second day with a breakfast meeting for the participants at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.


Only the prime minister of Ethiopia, the chairperson of the African union, the chairperson of the AU commission and the representatives of the participating countries and the ministers of health were present at the breakfast meeting which was hosted by Nigeria's President, Goodluck Jonathan.

All the heads of states and government who were at the opening ceremony have left for home.

In his opening speech President Jonathan said it was the urgency and the need to tackle the challenges posed by the HIV/aids scourge that made him to develop a comprehensive response plan to bridge the gaps in the effort to eradicate diseases by 2015.

He said that between now and 12015 about 80 million Nigerians should be able to know their status.

The meeting has gone into plenary within which decisions will be taken on the resolutions reached

The conference, which opened on Friday seeks to address challenges encountered in the campaign against the three diseases.

"It is timely that we review the implementation of the various declarations and plans of action adopted in the course of the last decade," Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Tedros Ghebreyesus told the conference, according to the African Union's website.

Mr Ghebreyesus said Ethiopia was proposing to establish an "African Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (African–CDC) or Health Commission for Africa under the umbrella of the African Union".

The centre, he said, will help carry out research and deal with major health problems on the African continent.

"Our achievement is indeed the result of strong country ownership and leadership, active community involvement, improved health system and unprecedented global support in creating access to and delivery of life saving services," he said.

AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are some of the major diseases afflicting the continent. Although health experts have focused attention on AIDS, malaria remains one of the major killer diseases in Africa.

Victims are mainly pregnant women and children because of their vulnerability.

The World Health Organisation's malaria report for 2012 said the disease was concentrated in 14 endemic countries, which accounted for an estimated 80% of malaria deaths.

It said the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria were the most affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

An estimated $5.1bn is needed every year between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions in the 99 countries with on-going malaria transmission, the report added.

Culled from Channeltv