Southern Africa Urged to See AIDS as Wider Crisis
August 18, 2004
On Monday at the annual summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika said the region should respond to the AIDS epidemic as a political, social and economic crisis. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly two-thirds of the world's HIV/AIDS patients, or some 25 million people, and the region is losing professionals and officials faster than replacements can be trained, Mutharika said.Adapted from:
"We continue to lose prominent politicians and members of parliament to the AIDS epidemic," said Mutharika.
The two-day summit was held in Grande Baie, Mauritius. At the opening, SADC officials and other leaders called for action to help southern Africa overcome food shortages caused in part by drought and put more resources into the fight against HIV/AIDS.
SADC head Prema Ramsamy said 5.4 million people in the region still need food aid, even though cereal production was up by 10 percent. The SADC has reorganized its coordinating secretariat in the past four years better to spearhead development, but it still needs more resources, Ramsamy said.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.