Zambian envoy appeals for more HIV funds By CHIBAULA D SILWAMBA | Wednesday, June 13 2012 at 10:16
Zambia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN has appealed to donor agencies for more funding for HIV/Aids prevention programmes.
Addressing delegates in the UN General Assembly Hall on Monday on the Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/Aids and the Political Declarations on HIV/Aids, Ms Sheila Mweemba said Zambia realised that treatment was essential to prolonging the lives of people living with Aids and was adjunct to prevention.
"Every time we talk of the three themes for HIV, we need to emphasise prevention so that it cuts across the three themes," Ms Mweemba said.
She explained that the Zambian Government had made efforts to reposition prevention to take the centre stage for fighting HIV/Aids, adding that the Republican President and Vice President were leading the process.
Ms Mweemba said prevention was the only sustainable treatment.
"My delegation, therefore, makes an appeal to donor agencies for more funding for prevention research," Ms Mweemba said.
"As the world races towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of reducing sexual transmission of HIV by 50 per cent and elimination of new infections in children and other prevention outcomes, let us find synergies with the post Rio+20 Sustainable Development agenda," the diplomat said.
She called for enhanced research for a multi protection product with high public health efficiency and effectiveness.
She expressed concern at the high number of children orphaned and made vulnerable due to HIV.
"Caution should be exercised as vulnerability is a key determinant for HIV acquisition as well as for gender and sexual violence. This compounds the scenario for HIV acquisition among orphans and vulnerable children," Ms Mweemba said.
"In this regard, no efforts should be spared in cushioning the impact of abject poverty likely to be experienced in these households by adequate provision of social protection services."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said prevention was critical, adding that the number of new HIV infections must be cut by one million by 2015.
About five million youths live with HIV and 3,000 more get infected daily, according to Mr Ban.
Governments, intergovernmental organisations, United Nations agencies and leaders in 2011 pledged to show “decisive, inclusive and accountable leadership” to reach the goal of an Aids-free world.
The declaration sought to stop new infections, stamp out discrimination and end Aids-related deaths.
"An Aids-free generation is a generation that can help to end poverty," said Mr Ban, adding that patients must be diagnosed more quickly, therapies must be provided more efficiently and better medicines must be developed.
Speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Angola's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Smael Abraão Gaspar Martins said significant gains had been made in the HIV/Aids response in SADC, including declines in HIV-related deaths, declines of infection rates in children and pregnant women.
On behalf of the African Group, Botswana's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Charles Ntwaagae said African nations had stepped up their efforts to address HIV/Aids, with the rate of infection stabilizing and declining in about 22 countries.
"Aids deaths were decreasing, as were incidents of mother-to-child transmissions. At the same time, infection rates on the whole continued to outpace treatment and care programmes," Ambassador Ntwaagae said.
However, he said HIV-infected persons in Africa still struggle to access available treatment.
Ambassador Ntwaagae said the lack of resources was the most challenging hurdle and welcomed the call in the Political Declaration for scaling up funds for health care and access to medication.
--The Author is First Secretary for Press Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations based in New York
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