ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 12 July 2013 / - "Investment in health is an investment in economic development", the statement was made on very serious note by Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), while addressing the Ministers of health, today, 13 July 2013, during the opening ceremony of the Executive Council within the framework of the Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. The event at the International Conference Center in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, was chaired by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the Executive Council of the African Union.
The AUC Deputy Chairperson expressed appreciation to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for his continued commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "Indeed this beautiful city of Abuja will occupy an important place when the history of the fight against these three diseases is narrated" he noted. "Three special summits were convened and commitments adopted in Abuja, Nigeria on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria with AWA driving the African leadership. These were subsequently turned into actions at national level, with the commendable support of the international community", he added. Mr. Mwencha further pointed out that, since 2000, Africa has kept the fight against the above mentioned diseases high on its national, continental and international agendas. The diseases had been declared as a state of emergency and a threat to security in Africa, (see complete speech of Mr. Mwencha on the AU website: www.au.int ).
Addressing the Ministers earlier, the Chairperson of the Executive Council said the Special Summit affords Africa the opportunity to take stock of the progress made and the challenges encountered in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "It is timely that we review the implementation of the various declarations and plans of action adopted in the course of the last decade" the Minister underscored.
Minister Tedros Ghebreyesus further announced that Ethiopia is proposing to establish an "African Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (African CDC) or Health Commission for Africa under the umbrella off the African Union. The establishment of such a Center , he said, 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. "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 Â», said Minister Ghebreyesus. (See complete speech of Ministers on the AU website: www.au.int ).
Mr. Nurudeen Mohammed, Minister for Foreign Affair of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, recalled the theme of the Special Summit: "Ownership, Accountability and Sustainability of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Response in Africa: Past, Present and the Future". Quoting the former President of Nigeria and Chairperson of the 2000 Summit on Roll Back Malaria, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, the Minister said, "Today we have begun to write the final chapter of the history of Malaria. We have raised the hopes and expectations of our people - we must not let them down. We cannot afford to let down. May malaria be rolled out and development rolled in all African countries".
According to the Honorable Minister Mohammed, this statement is a perpetual reminder of the huge challenge to Member States to roll out HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria from the continent. (see complete speech of Minister on the AU website: www.au.int).
The Ministers considered the 2010-2012 Assessment Report on the Abuja Call for Accelerated Action Towards Universal Access to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria 2015 as well as the draft report of the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC).
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SOURCE : African Union