Senior UN official in Zambia on regional tour highlighting anti-AIDS scheme

10 March 2004

The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has arrived in Zambia for the second leg of a three-nation tour of southern Africa that is focusing on the devastation wreaked by HIV/AIDS across the region.

Mark Malloch Brown, the UNDP Administrator, is expected to hold talks today in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, with President Levy Mwanawasa about the Southern Africa Capacity Initiative.

Today Mr. Malloch Brown was also scheduled to visit an AIDS clinic supported by Zambia's former President, Kenneth Kaunda.

The UNDP chief spent the first leg of his trip in Malawi, and will head to Botswana tomorrow for two days of talks and visits. On Friday he is slated to travel to a school in the capital, Gaborone, to see a UNDP-sponsored interactive television programme about AIDS.

The Southern Africa Capacity Initiative is designed to help nine African countries - Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe - tackle the effects of HIV/AIDS on their health, education and other major sectors. With funding from Microsoft, the UNDP project provides computer technology to help poor countries in the region deliver better social services to people affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Overall, the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that southern Africa is home to about 30 per cent of all people living with the disease worldwide, even though this region has less than 2 per cent of the world's population.


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