[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
JOHANNESBURG, 31 August (PLUSNEWS) - The World Health
Organisation (WHO) is making steady progress in combating the
HIV/AIDS epidemic and improving health sectors in 46 African
Dr Louis Sambo, the WHO regional head for Africa, presented
results highlighting their work in the areas of HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria from the organisation's biennial report
at a health conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
"Efforts to scale up access to HIV/AIDS care and treatment in
Africa in 2004/05 have resulted in an estimated 800,000 people,
representing 17 percent of those in need, gaining access to
antiretroviral therapy," he said. Eight countries had achieved TB
treatement success rates of 80 percent or higher, and 25
countries had switched to more effective artemisinin-based
combination therapy (ACT) to treat malaria.
Despite these gains, urgent measures were needed to control the
spread of HIV/AIDS, which infected 3.2 million people in Africa
last year and caused 2.4 million deaths.
Health ministers at the conference discussed ways to boost HIV
prevention efforts, lower child mortality rates, access health
financing and expand immunisation initiatives.
According to the WHO report, insufficient funding, health worker
shortages and poor integration of information systems were
hampering efforts to fight disease on the continent.