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

Robert Newman, director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Program, “said on the sidelines of the ongoing preparatory meetings to this week’s African Union (A.U.) Special Summit on HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Abuja [‘Abuja +12’ ] … on Sunday that a vaccine for malaria may just be three years away,” PANA/AfriqueJet reports. He “said … that malaria vaccine trials were going on in eleven sites across seven countries in Africa,” the news service notes. “Experts said a malaria vaccine might offer the greatest hope of achieving significantly improved malaria control, particularly in Africa, where the ecological habitat is such that effective mosquito control has proved difficult or impossible to maintain,” the news service writes (7/15). A.U. Commissioner for Social Affairs Mustapha Kaloko “said [at the summit] on Sunday it requires $3.6 billion yearly for the prevention and control of malaria in the continent, which accounts for most of the malaria cases and deaths worldwide,” PANA notes in a separate article. “Kaloko called for more creative local funding to close the gap, and said the A.U. was ready to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the ever-increasing funding gap is narrowed,” the news service adds (7/15).

“Among objectives of the Special Summit is leveraging on the opportunity to review and identify factors that underpin the persistent burden of HIV, TB and malaria on the continent, as well as the status of health financing on the continent while committing the African leaders to the implementation of innovative and sustainable health financing initiatives,” Nigeria’s Vanguard reports (Ogundipe, 7/15). Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is hosting the Special Summit, on Monday “launched a new, special purpose program targeted at achieving universal access to the prevention, treatment, care and support for Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS,” the newspaper writes in a separate article (Ogundipe, 7/15). A report (.pdf) launched Monday at the summit — “Abuja +12: Shaping the future of health in Africa,” published by the A.U. and UNAIDS — “highlights increased, targeted health spending as an essential foundation to greater economic growth and development in Africa,” according to a UNAIDS press release, which notes the report “reviews progress made since the A.U.’s 2001 Abuja Declaration — in which leaders pledged to mobilize domestic and international resources for health and remove barriers to the AIDS response — highlights remaining gaps, and prioritizes next steps” (7/15).