14 July 2013

Ethiopia: AU Executive Council Session On HIV/Hids, Tuberculosis, Malaria Kicks Off

Photo: Allan Gichigi/IRIN
Stigma remains a major problem

The Special Session of the Executive Council of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria opened on Saturday under the theme "Ownership, Accountability and Sustainability of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Response in Africa: Past, Present and the Future" in Abuja, Nigeria.

Addressing the Special Session, current Chairperson of the Executive Council, Dr. Tedros Adhanom said "We all agree that encouraging achievements have been registered over the past decade in our fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria in Africa. No doubt, this was made possible through the joint efforts of governments, development partners and communities".

He noted that some countries in Africa, including Ethiopia, have indeed performed better towards achieving the health-related MDGs particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Referring to his previous portfolio as Minister of Health, he said "I have personally been involved in the multifaceted work and the progress made by Ethiopia over the last decade; 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 further added that the success stories of these countries should, therefore, inspire other African countries that are lagging behind in their endeavor to scale up their effort in the coming years.

In a bid to curb the enormous socio-economic challenges posed by HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Dr. Tedros underscored the need to review the implementation of the various declarations and plan of actions adopted by the African Union in the past decade.

He said " While we draw enormous satisfaction from our achievements, we should recognize the need to further enhance our efforts towards reversing the impact of these diseases by ensuring universal access to health services and strengthened health systems especially for the poor and most marginalized population".

He presented to the Special Session Ethiopia's proposal for the establishment of an "African Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (African-CDC) or Health Commission for Africa under the umbrella of the African Union. He said "The establishment of such a Center will certainly go a long way in helping Africa to generate much needed information and research taking into consideration some of the unique health problems."

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Tedros expressed his trust and confidence that the outcome of the current Special Session would reinforce Africa's commitment in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as improve maternal, newborn and child health and draw appropriate lessons from the successes and shortcomings in achieving the health related MDGs.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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