U.N. Secretary-General and African Leaders Pledge to Unite Resources to Battle HIV/AIDS
During today's session of the African Development Forum 2000, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and several other African leaders promised to unite their political and economic resources to battle HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports. Annan called for an "all-out war" against the epidemic and urged African leaders to make the battle "their top priority." Annan said that the world had been "too slow to respond" to HIV/AIDS, but that there "was still time to halt and even reverse" the spread of the virus. "In the face of such multiple burdens, our response must be comprehensive -- a war on many fronts. We need a complete social mobilization against AIDS," Annan said. Along with Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and Botswana's President Festus Mogae, Annan called on African governments to ensure that money spent fighting the disease would be allocated to "where it is most needed and can do most good" (Murray, Reuters, 12/7). Regarding the affordability of HIV/AIDS drug treatment, Museveni stated that he did not believe the drug companies should reduce the cost of antiretroviral drugs, since it would discourage further research. "Instead, I propose that African countries should combine efforts and reimburse the money the successful pharmaceutical companies spent on research and development, plus a negotiated profit level. Thereafter, the drug companies should lower the prices," he said (Hranjski, Associated Press, 12/7). He advised the region's leaders to pool their resources to invest in developing and manufacturing drugs to treat AIDS patients (Reuters, 12/7). Mogae added that African nations should unite to negotiate "affordable prices" for HIV drugs in a "comprehensive care package." Mogae also urged African countries to divert funding from the military to fight the virus (Associated Press, 12/7).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.