Germany To Focus on Fighting HIV/AIDS Among Women, Children in Africa at G8 Summit, Minister Says
Germany, which this year holds the presidency of the Group of Eight industrialized nations, plans to focus on securing funds for efforts to combat HIV/AIDS among African women and children at the upcoming G8 Summit in June, Germany's Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul said recently, Reuters South Africa reports. Germany also plans to encourage G8 nations to carry out commitments made at the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, Wieczorek-Zeul said (Armitage, Reuters South Africa, 3/1). G8 leaders in July 2005 at the close of their summit in Gleneagles agreed to an immediate doubling of aid to Africa to $50 billion annually in order to fight poverty and disease on the continent. The final summit communique officially endorsed a debt relief plan, which canceled at least $40 billion in debt owed by the world's 18 poorest nations. The communique also included an agreement on providing universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, according to British Prime Minister Tony Blair (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/12). In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to continue work begun by Blair in 2005 during the United Kingdom's G8 presidency to address poverty in Africa. Wieczorek-Zeul said that she hopes there will be a "clear signal for fighting HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and that a fixed amount will be pledged, which will be used to target AIDS prevention in women and children," during the June G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. The country has pledged $528.7 million this year to help fight HIV/AIDS, including its contributions to European Union efforts and other global campaigns. A conference aimed at garnering pledges for the Global Fund To fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria also will be held in Germany in September, Wieczorek-Zeul said. She added that nations should increase their efforts to promote sustainable development initiatives, such as micro-credit programs that help women launch their own businesses, in African countries (Reuters South Africa, 3/1).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.