January 31, 2012
Industrial technology transfers should be used to help Africa fight HIV/AIDS, the head of UNAIDS said Saturday on the sidelines of the 18th African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The New Agenda for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and UNAIDS are among agencies partnering for such transfers to enable Africa to produce its own AIDS drugs, Michel Sidibe said.
With an economic growth rate of over 6 percent on the continent, what matters now is "not only a development of infrastructure, but also a better life with good health for the African people," Sidibe said. AIDS can be one platform for the transfer of drug-making technologies used in emerging markets such as China and Brazil, he said, suggesting that an AU summit address these opportunities. The private sector can be tapped for such social development.
"You cannot put someone under treatment for 30 years while believing that all relevant resources will come from outside," Sidibe said. "I can say that pharmaceutical companies now are the first to seek a dialogue with the African continent."
The period since the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS in June last year has provided a window of opportunity to talk about the sustainability of programs, Sidibe said. He also noted progress on the adoption of comprehensive mother-to-child HIV prevention programs in Africa, which most countries have plans to accelerate.