African Leaders Recommit To Better Funding To Tackle HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria

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Addis Ababa, July 16, 2013 - The African Union (AU) Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria ended here with African leaders recommitting themselves to the declaration they made in 2001 to increase health sector funding in order to end the scourge of the diseases.

PANA reports that at a meeting in Nigeria's capital city of Abuja in 2001, the leaders pledged to increase government funding for health to at least 15% of their national budgets, and urged donor countries to scale up support.

However, statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that only one African country has achieved that target as at 2011.

In view of this, the leaders again promised to accelerate efforts to achieve that target, and to paying greater attention to domestic funding and private sector support.

The Declaration from the latest summit, tagged Abuja 12, were announced at a press conference by host President Goodluck Jonathan, AU Chairman and Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, and AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dalmini-Zuma.

The leaders agreed to ensure that strategies are in place for diversified, balanced and sustainable financing for health, in particular AIDS, TB and Malaria, through the development of strategic health investment plans and strategies for innovative financing, including from the private sector.

They also agreed to implement effective and targeted poverty elimination strategies and social protection programmes that integrate the three diseases for all, particularly vulnerable populations; review relevant laws and policies at national and regional level to strengthen rights-based protection for all vulnerable and key populations in the context of the three diseases; and increase access to prevention programmes targeting the youth, especially young women, to ensure an AIDS-free generation.

The leaders also resolved to set up national, regional and continental monitoring and evaluation system for better implementation of commitments as well as ownership and accountability; accelerate HIV prevention programmes using a combination of effective evidence-based prevention, in particular for young people, women, girls and other vulnerable populations to successfully reduce the number of new HIV infections towards the goal of zero new infection by 2030; and eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Other declarations include to integrate sexual and reproductive health and family planning and HIV/AIDS services through reinforcing action on earlier commitments to enhance maternal, newborn and child health status; Integrate HIV and TB programmes and accelerate the scaling up of technology for early diagnosis and treatment of the three diseases.

The Summit agreed that the leaders would take deliberate and bold action to accelerate children and adolescent access to antiretroviral treatment and within the continuum of care and support of the Treatment 2015 campaign championed by UNAIDS and WHO; Strengthen the use of effective insecticides for control and elimination of malaria, including the use of dichlorodiphenyltrichoroethane ( DDT), where it is suitable, and intensify the use of Larval Source Management ( LCM) where suitable for the control and elimination of malaria The leaders also agreed to: - Ensure malaria funding for, and uninterrupted supply of life-saving malaria commodities to prevent resurgence of malaria that can occur rapidly with debasing loss of life.

- Strengthen mechanisms to increase coverage and access to services for detection and treatment for tuberculosis, multi-drug resistant TB and TB in children vulnerable populations and involvement of communities in TB interventions - Meaningfully engage people living with HIV and members of other key populations as partners in ensuring accountability and the effectiveness of national AIDS, TB and Malaria responses - Create an enabling environment to support and leverage technological innovation as well as manufacturing capacity in the area of medicines, vaccines and diagnostics and laboratory reagents, contributing to the strengthening of the capacity of the health system - Support the reinforcement of the policy environment and regulatory systems, including through active cooperation between members states to boost investment in the local production of quality essential medicines - Explore, in particular, South- South cooperation, and collaboration with the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) partners.

The meeting requested the AU Commission to work out the modality for establishing an African Centre for Diseases Control, and agreed to render progress report every six months to the Commission on the implementation of all the health set targets. (