U.N. Secretary General Launches International Partnership Against AIDS in Africa
In hopes of marshalling "continent-wide support" to battle the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan Thursday announced the formal launch of the International Partnership Against AIDS, according to UNAIDS. The partnership, Annan said, will "bring together" the United Nations, African governments, private donors and community organizations to combat the disease. The initiative will focus on obtaining three goals: reducing the number of new HIV infections in Africa; "promot[ing] care for HIV-positive individuals; and "mobiliz[ing] society to halt the advance of AIDS." Speaking last week at the Africa Development Forum 2000 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Annan said that the partnership "will be the focus for a new spirit of cooperation in building the response to AIDS. We face a terrible epidemic, but we are far from powerless against it." IPAA was informally established one year ago when Annan asked participants of the first ADF to "develop an unprecedented response to an unprecedented crisis." Since then, according to UNAIDS, IPAA has "mobilized unprecedented political leadership, helped shatter the silence and stigma around the epidemic and strengthened national planning, especially in the hardest hit countries" (UNAIDS release, 12/7). Also speaking at the conference, Uganda and Botswana leaders echoed Annan's call for greater African unity in fighting the epidemic. "If we could work together in the liberation struggle against colonialism, if we could conquer apartheid together, why can't we conquer HIV/AIDS?" Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni asked. President Festus Mogae of Botswana added that African leaders are being called to respond to "a supreme test of our commitment to our people." In an appeal for African nations to increase resources for fighting AIDS, he asked, "Can all of us honestly say that we have assigned, instructed and mobilized our best professionals to move with the speed and sustained determination to deal with this as the greatest development emergency of our time?" (Hranjski, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 12/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.