In a meeting on 11 October at the Presidential Palace in Brazzaville, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé praised Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso for gains in the national AIDS response and called for shared responsibility to close remaining gaps.
“You were a pioneer in bringing the universal access debate high on the global agenda by launching the Brazzaville Declaration, taking it to the United Nations General Assembly in 2006, and then translating it into the 2011 Political Declaration on AIDS,” said Mr Sidibé, in his meeting with the President. “Now, I encourage you to be among the key global leaders to push the concept of shared responsibility.”
In recent years, Congo has significantly increased national expenditures on AIDS. By 2011, about 50% of national HIV investments were funded through domestic sources. Mr Sidibé called on Congo’s leadership to continue reducing the country’s dependency on foreign aid while noting that international donors must also honor their funding commitments.
Now, I encourage you to be among the key global leaders to push the concept of shared responsibility
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé
President Sassou-Nguesso noted that addressing gaps in Africa’s HIV response would require greater political will across the continent. He added that joint action is also critical: “We need to coordinate our efforts if we want to succeed.”
During his meeting with the President, Mr Sidibé noted the 22% national decline in the number of new HIV infections between 2003 and 2009. He commended the leadership of Congo for expanding access to HIV treatment: By 2011, more than 16 000 people in Congo were receiving HIV treatment (44% coverage).
According to government estimates, only 14% of Congolese children eligible for HIV treatment are receiving it. Coverage of services that prevent new HIV infections among children is low, at 32%. Mr Sidibé urged the President to boost national efforts to eliminate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and to ensure HIV treatment access for all.