Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Jonathan to Launch Road Map On HIV/Aids

President Goodluck Jonathan is to launch a national road map on HIV/AIDS in the country, in an effort towards reducing the country's high indices of the epidemic.

He disclosed this recently during the opening of the second high level meeting of the Global Power Women Network Africa (GPWNA).

The organisation, referred to as the GlobalPOWER Africa, an African Union and UNAIDS- supported initiative, is a network of African women who are elected and appointed representatives that are at decision-making tables.

Jonathan said African leaders must go beyond the provision of free test kits and anti-retroviral drugs to effectively fight the scourge, saying, "for us in Africa, to fight AIDS, we must also fight poverty, African leaders must ensure that we create wealth for the citizens".

The president also charged other African leaders to eradicate poverty, adding that the fight against HIV/AIDS will be an exercise in futility if they fail to do so.

Jonathan, who said African leaders must go beyond the provision of free test kits and anti-retroviral drugs to effectively fight the scourge, also tasked African leaders to be committed to addressing gender equality in order to attain sustainable development.

He said, "We urge all nations, all sub-national bodies and all local authorities and even communities to create opportunities for the girl-child as they do for the boys."

At the event which attracted African leaders and serving ministers of states in many of the African countries , the Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, remarked that said 69 percent of the 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS across the world by 2011 were from Africa.

She recommended that cultural and structural inequalities be addressed to effectively fight the scourge.

Also, the Executive Director of the UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe, disclosed that eight million people were currently being treated for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Dignitaries at the summit included the Liberian and Malawian Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Joyce Banda of Malawi respectively; Nigeria's First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan, represented by the wife of the Vice President, Amina Sambo; and Chadian First Lady Hinda Derby.

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