Pan-African Film, Television Festival Panel Addresses HIV/AIDS
About 150 of the 3,000 participants in the Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, this month participated in a panel discussion on "what African actors can do to help fight HIV/AIDS," This Day/AllAfrica.com reports. The discussion, organized by FESPACO and the United Nations Development Program, was opened by Burkina Faso First Lady Chantal Compaore, who said, "HIV/AIDS has become one of the most worrying health problems in sub-Saharan Africa, with some 28 million people affected. It is a threat to the development of Africa, and it brings a new kind of impoverishment." U.S. film director John Singleton said, "AIDS has the ability to alter the future of Africa," adding, "The fight against HIV/AIDS is another revolutionary struggle that Africa has to undertake." In a statement delivered by Djibril Diallo, UNDP's communications office director, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that Africa's film and television professionals "are making a major contribution to the solution of pressing issues" like HIV/AIDS, according to This Day/AllAfrica.com. He added that these professionals can "help us to better understand contemporary Africa -- not only its problems, but also the positive changes that are happening everywhere and are a real cause for hope." Annan said that artists can play a "central role" in working toward the eight goals established during the Millennium Summit in September 2000, including "pushing back" the spread of the disease. Singleton called on the entire entertainment community to become involved in the effort, adding that artists in "all fields -- from music to television -- will be needed if efforts to combat HIV/AIDS are to succeed," according to This Day/AllAfrica.com (Ahiante, This Day/AllAfrica.com, 3/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.