Abuja summit to back plan on fighting HIV/AIDS, UN African commission says

18 April 2001

A continent-wide plan for fighting AIDS in Africa will be endorsed by next week's Summit meeting on infectious diseases in Abuja, Nigeria, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) announced today.

The plan -- formally known as the African Development Forum Consensus and Plan of Action -- was agreed to in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last December at a conference organized by ECA. The Addis Ababa-based Commission said the plan was expected to receive the full backing of leaders attending the African Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases, to be held on 26 and 27 April.

The plan articulates commitments made by African governments, the international community, civil society and other stakeholders to overcome the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Among other measures, it calls for a continental strategy for the care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS, including a determined pan-African approach to the affordability of drugs. It also stresses the need for the international community to mobilize the necessary resources to enable Africa to overcome the pandemic.

More than 20 Heads of State are expected at next week's Summit, which is being convened by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in collaboration with the Government of the Nigeria, ECA, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and other key partners.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to deliver an opening statement at the forum, outlining key priorities in the global fight against AIDS. Other UN officials attending the Summit include UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Gro-Harlem Brundtland, ECA Executive Secretary K.Y. Amoako, and UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.

The Summit, first proposed by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, is being held to focus Africa's leadership on reversing the alarming rate of infection of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other related diseases on the continent. Unlike ordinary summits of the OAU, this gathering will include the participation of different groups, including people living with HIV/AIDS, TB and other diseases. Africa's development partners will also be represented at the Summit.


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