On December 1st, 2012, the African Development Bank (AfDB) will commemorate World AIDS Day at its headquarters in Tunis and field offices in 34 African countries. A resolute message was sent around the world by governments, NGOs, development agencies and civil societies: It's time to get to zero; zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Africa has come a long way in fighting HIV/AIDS since the first case of the disease was reported 30 years ago. It went on to destroy the lives of 24 million people and their families and led to massive socio-economic and developmental challenges.
However, the continent is fighting back through concerted international and local campaigns, funding and education drives. In the past 7 years, AIDS-related deaths declined by 32% while new infections are also decreasing.
The AfDB supports African countries through a wide range of initiatives resulting in high impact interventions in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
In Benin, the AfDB is involved in training health workers, screening 200,000 people and treating 7,305 HIV-positive individuals. It has also deployed innovative ways to reach out to communities and ensure that they seek testing and treatment.
In Kenya, more than 840 teachers and non-formal education tutors were trained in HIV/AIDS guidance and counselling. In Burkina Faso, 5301 village committee members were trained in community health outreach and 38 community associations were supported in carrying out community-based programs, resulting in 7,000 awareness activities conducted in 1,653 villages.
As part of its new Human Capital Development Strategy, the AfDB will continue to invest in the education and training of highly skilled health workers. It will invest in science, technology and innovation and in education to support research and the development of health industries and pharmaceuticals sectors, creating viable health labour markets that retain skilled professionals.
The AfDB will continue to mainstream HIV/AIDS management and control. Most importantly, AfDB is putting a relevant and timely intervention on the global and regional agenda, value for money. This is the way forward in the current resource constrained environment, building a sustainable and country= owned response to HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Its core aim is to continue to avail the next generation of Africans an AIDS-free future.