African Leaders Call for ‘Urgent Action’ in Fight Against AIDS
African leaders yesterday called for "urgent action" against AIDS, which is having a "devastating impact" on the continent, Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "The AIDS pandemic is undermining social and economic structures and reversing the fragile gains made since independence," Kingsley Amoako, executive director of the Economic Commission for Africa, said at the African Development Forum 2000, a five-day conference that began yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with more than 1,500 delegates gathered to discuss leadership roles in responding to the pandemic in Africa. Amoako added that African leaders had not taken "early action" to fight the pandemic. Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity Salim Ahmed Salim said, "In most of our societies the message about HIV/AIDS has not yet reached the bulk of the people. There is little open discussion about it, and ... [it] is met with stigma and discrimination which encourage concealment and silence" (Reuters/Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/4). The forum, with the theme "AIDS -- The Greatest Leadership Challenge," has attracted U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, African leaders, including the presidents of Botswana, Rwanda and Uganda, policy makers, international donors and people with HIV/AIDS (Panafrican News Agency, 12/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.