ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 16 July 2013 / - "Ending HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria is not going to be easy, not going to be quick, and not going to be cheap. It is a huge investment that is absolutely guaranteed to bring enormous returns". Said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission while addressing the African Union Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which kicked off today Monday 15th July 2013, in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the theme of â€œOwnership, Accountability and Sustainability of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Response in Africa: Past, Present and the Futureâ€.
Commending the progress make by the AU Member States towards universal access to health services in general and HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria in particular, the AUC Chairperson noted that "Africa still remains off-track in reaching the MDG target of halting and reversing the global TB epidemic by 2015". It also remains the continent most heavily affected with Malaria, with severe effects on maternal and child health.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma added that Africa has the unprecedented opportunity to lay the foundations for ending the HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB epidemics in Africa in the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda, the new AUC Strategic Plan 2014-2017, and the African Union Agenda 2063. (See complete speech of the Chairperson on the AU website: www.au.int ).
Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) underlined that the Special Summit offers a good opportunity to review achievements and challenges in reversing the impact of these three diseases, assess the state of maternal, neonatal and child birth in the continent to reinvigorate the commitments to achieve the health related Millennium Development Goals. He urged for the adoption of the right policies, programs and strategies as well as the need to demonstrate the necessary political commitment and strong leadership in order to fight against the epidemics.
AU Chairperson underscored the need for Africa to deliver results based on the principle of ownership and accountability and reduce its over-dependence on foreign CDCs, noting Ethiopia's proposal to establish an African Centre for Disease Control (African CDC). (See complete speech of the Prime Minister on the AU website: www.au.int ).
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his welcome remarks emphasized that the theme of the Summit calls for sustained commitment from governments and leaders across Africa, to sourcing expanded and durable solutions to these diseases. President Goodluck noted that this Summit affords another opportunity to review the level of achievement of the set targets of the 2001 and 2006 Summit Declaration in order to obtain renewed commitment by African Leaders for addressing these diseases and promoting health and well-being in Africa. (See complete speech of the President on the AU website: www.au.int).
Representative of Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations Dr. Babatunda Osontimhin Under Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Funds said in his opening remarks said Africa is now leading the world in the drive to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV by 2015. He said â€œ this Summit can provide a tipping point in Africa's progress on health and let us place AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria at the Centre of public health policy, including in humanitarian aid, peace building, conflict resolution and development .(See complete speech of the Executive Director on the AU website: www.au.int( .
Meanwhile, the Special Summit will consider, among other things, the Abuja Call for Accelerated Action Towards Universal Access to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by 2015 Assessment Report 2013; the Abuja+ 12 Call for Global Support for the Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity Roadmap for investment in HIV, TB and Malaria response; the Africa position to the post 2015 development agenda dialogue and draft decisions and Declarations of the Summit submitted by the Executive Council that held on 13 July.
The Special Summit on HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is organized by the African Union in collaboration with the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the UN Agencies and other development partners is Abuja, Nigeria from 12 to 16 July 2013. It is a follow-up to Abuja Summits on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria of 2000, 2001, and 2006
SOURCE : African Union