Ethiopia Launches National Coalition for Women Against HIV/AIDS
Ethiopian officials on Wednesday launched one of Africa's first national coalitions for women against HIV/AIDS, U.N. IRIN/AllAfrica.com reports. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa launched the coalition and called on individuals to take responsibility for their sexual behavior, saying, "We say are we are going to create an AIDS-free Ethiopia; we must first stop the spread." His remarks on the disease broke with the conventions of the conservative country, where sexual issues are seldom addressed in public, and the speech represented one of the few times that the prime minister has publicly spoken on the disease. The coalition, which will be funded by a $200,000 grant from the United Nations Development Programme, will be made up of tens of thousands of women in the country and will be headed by some of the country's leading women. The coalition aims to address the "social and traditional phenomena ... [that have] often hampered real progress in combating HIV," according to U.N. IRIN/AllAfrica.com (U.N. IRIN/AllAfrica.com, 6/18). Ethiopian President Girma Wolde Giorgis said, "I am encouraged to hear that you as a coalition will address culture and tradition in a way which will ensure that women are honored in our society and that the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be eradicated" (Xinhua News Agency, 6/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.