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Africa: MDGs 2015 - Continent Can't Meet Target On HIV, TB, Malaria

BY RUBY LEO, ISIAKA WAKILI AND JUDD LEONARD OKAFOR, 17 JULY 2013

The foggy situation was painted yesterday in Abuja at the conclusion of the two-day Abuja+12 Special Summit of the African Union (AU) on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with the theme "Ownership, Accountability and Sustainability of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Response in Africa: Past, Present and the Future".

The leaders resolved that while the progress achieved so far should be sustained, the continent would have to look beyond 2015 to eradicate the diseases.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had at the commencement of the summit on Monday expressed fear over the possibility of African countries achieving the MDGs targets by 2015, saying with a thousand days to the deadline, many of them were yet to achieve the larger part of the goals.

Ki-Moon, who was represented by the UN Population Fund Executive Director Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, called for renewed leadership and increased domestic and international funding including new investment in improved tests and drugs as well as stronger health services to make the goals achievable

Addressing journalists at the end of the summit, President Goodluck Jonathan, AU chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the African Union Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, assured on sustained efforts towards sustained eradicating the diseases which, according to them, have impeded the continent's growth.

Jonathan specifically affirmed that achieving the MDGs goals goes beyond 2015, saying he and his colleagues had decided to consider a sustainable development that would make them succeed in the fight against the three diseases.

Desalegn lamented that there were numerous challenges despite the progress already made in the fight against the diseases, expressing optimism however that those challenges would be surmounted by strong political will and commitment.

Also speaking, Dlamini equally disclosed that the continent was looking beyond the 2015 target, adding that a committee chaired by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had been raised to come up with a position to be used for negotiation at the next meeting of the MDGs.

Besides, despite calls for the African Union to look inwards for resources to fund their response to HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, the region is not ruling out external financing to stop the ravage of the diseases in Africa.

African Union chairperson and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said responsibility for the bulk of funding should rest on the continent's governments but added that international assistance would also be required to help the region in eradicating the three main diseases.

Read full article text online at:  http://allafrica.com/stories/201307170979.html

Originally published by Media Trust Nigeria Limited in the capital city.  Website: http://dailytrust.info/