COVID-19: AU, AWA experts call for renewed action to fight AIDS, TB, Malaria

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The African Union (AU) Commission says there is an urgent need to tackle the scourge of to AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria across African Union (AU) Member States in spite of COVID-19 pandemic disruptions.

Madame Mariama Mohammed, Director for Social Affairs, AU Commission, made the call at a meeting of experts working at the frontline of the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria across AU member states in Addis Ababa, Ethopia.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day consultative meeting held on Nov. 10, 2020 and Nov. 11, 2020, was convened by AIDS Watch Africa (AWA).

AWA is a statutory entity of the AU with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, resource mobilization and accountability efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030.

A statement by AWA on Thursday said the experts took stock on the progress of implementation of key policies formulated to advance address AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria response in Africa.

According to it, recommendations will be compiled into a report to be presented during the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Governments in 2021.

“The pandemic has revealed to us an ability to come together, develop a collective response to address a common challenge in an accountable manner.

“ With the economic recovery estimated to be slow, it will require twice as much effort for AU member states to sustain the gains achieved over the past decades especially in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases.

“The deliberations you will have as representatives of member states, are very important in shaping the action taken by Africa’s leaders and the communities we serve towards a healthier future in the continent,’’ Mohammed said.

Lebogang Lebese, Representative of the AIDS Watch Africa Current Chairperson from the Republic of South Africa, appreciated efforts of the continent in handling COVID-19 pandemic.

`It is going to be a fruitful time when as a continent, we will review on progress we have made in implementing programmes across the three diseases.

“We appreciate the effort that the continent has demonstrated in dealing with COVID-19.

“The leadership of AIDS Watch Africa, partners and key stakeholders who have joined us in the work to end AIDS, tuberculosis and eliminate malaria in Africa is well appreciated.

“It is encouraging to note that the targets to the fight of these three diseases are aligned to the SDG 2030, First Year Implementation Plan of AU Agenda 2063, and the Africa Health Strategy.

“We also appreciate the adoption of the domestic scorecard for health financing,” Lebese said.

Speaking on behalf of development partners, Ms Shu-Shu Tekle-Haimanot, emphasised the importance of maintaining delivery of essential healthcare services in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“According to the Global Fund Results Report 2020, 75 per cent of HIV-related service delivery has been disrupted.

“Countries are experiencing significant resource needs and rising fiscal needs on top of a health financing burden.

“I appreciate all the partners involved in the fight against AIDS, TB, malaria and strengthening health financing. Without their support, none of the work would be achieved,” she said.

Rosemary Mburu, representing the CSOs, said it was dignifying to see the regional, concerted effort in managing COVID-19.

“As  Africa progresses to the next phase, there is positivity for a better job. There is potential to have the gains we have made reversed by the pandemic.

“Our call is to ensure that we safeguard the lessons and progress we have made as a continent. We must protect the gains on AIDS, TB and malaria, protect health systems and beat COVID-19.

“We do have the instruments and policies, where we stand is to ensure we have the leadership and political will that is needed. The issue around equity is also important as we seek to build back better,” she said. (NAN)

– Nov. 12, 2020 @ 11:59 GMT |

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