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A.U. Special Summit On HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria Concludes In Abuja

“The Special Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria ended in Abuja Tuesday with the leaders recommitting themselves to the declaration they made at a similar meeting in 2001, to increase funding towards finding solution to the diseases,” Nigeria’s The Guardian reports. “In April 2001, African Union countries meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, pledged to increase government funding for health to at least 15 percent, and urged donor countries to scale up support. Statistics from the [WHO] indicate that one African country has reached that target as of 2011,” the newspaper writes, adding, “During a briefing at the end of the summit, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan; chairperson of the African Union, Dr. Hailemariam Dessalegn; and chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Zuma, spoke on the declaration of the 2013 Summit and promised, on behalf of A.U. member countries, to accelerate the implementation of the earlier ‘Abuja Commitments’ and step up the mobilization of domestic resources to strengthen the health system” (Abubakar et al., 7/16).

“The Summit Declaration called for increased coverage and access to TB detection and treatment for all, including for multi-drug resistant TB, TB in children and a special focus on vulnerable groups,” Africa Science News notes, adding, “It also called for a stronger involvement of communities in TB interventions and for increased integration of HIV and TB programs” (Neondo, 7/16). Participants “also agreed to implement effective and targeted poverty elimination strategies and social protection programs 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 programs targeting the youth, especially young women, to ensure an AIDS-free generation,” Bernama reports. “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 programs; and accelerate the scaling up of technology for early diagnosis and treatment of the three diseases,” the news agency writes (7/17).