Future of Southern Africa Hinges on Fighting HIV/AIDS Pandemic, U.N. Special Envoy for Southern Africa Morris Says
The future of Southern African countries hinges on their governments' ability to prevent the spread and mitigate the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, James Morris, U.N. Secretary General's special envoy for humanitarian needs in Southern Africa, said on Wednesday in Johannesburg, South Africa, BuaNews/AllAfrica.com reports (Dlamini, BuaNews/AllAfrica.com, 12/13). Morris, who also serves as executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme, said that the spread of HIV, threat of food shortages and lack of governmental capacity to address such problems represents "the most serious humanitarian challenge in the world today" (Agence France-Presse, 12/13). There are more than 3.3 million children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses living in Southern Africa, according to BuaNews/AllAfrica.com (BuaNews/AllAfrica.com, 12/13). "The issue relating to orphans is overwhelming, the issue related to women is overwhelming," Morris said, adding, "Until the HIV/AIDS pandemic is brought under control and orphans have an environment in which they can put their lives back together, Southern Africa will continue to struggle to make long-term development gains and break the poverty cycle" (Agence France-Presse, 12/13). Morris said that southern African countries must "embrace crop diversification, improve access to clean water and sanitation and improve the plight of women who are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS and carry the burden of household and farming responsibilities" to improve the region's situation (BuaNews/AllAfrica.com, 12/13).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.