West African Economic Community Launches Regional Campaign To Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis
The Economic Community of West African States on Tuesday in Burkina Faso launched a regionwide campaign intended to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, including information about prevalence, protection and treatment, Xinhuanet reports.
According to Xinhuanet, the initiative, organized by the ECOWAS Parliamentary Commission on Health and Social Services and the West African Health Organization, specifically will target vulnerable communities living in the border regions between Burkina Faso and Mali. During the meeting on Tuesday, a participant said, "The main aim is to mobilize and to alert the target populations in order to get them to organize themselves to fight these pandemics, which are threatening to devastate our region." Officials also plan to discuss a common strategy to help the region fight the diseases more effectively, as well as appropriate approaches to improve awareness and advocacy.
Yaya Sangare, chair of the ECOWAS parliamentary commission, said it is important to establish a common framework for standardizing member states' efforts to curb the diseases, help distribute information about the diseases and help countries that are particularly hard-hit. "The fight against AIDS will only be won when our strategies will actively seek to clarify all practices and policies that are at play," Sangare said. He added that although "African countries have put the fight against the AIDS scourge among their top priorities," the continent needs "a stronger involvement of actors and targets for comprehensive care for people infected and/or affected by AIDS and tuberculosis, and a successful prevention strategy."
According to the World Health Organization, HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB are threatening to undo gains made by Africa in eradicating poverty and achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (Xinhuanet, 7/9).