Exclusive: African leaders to shift HIV, Malaria, poverty targets by 15 years

The leaders will also commit to the introduction of new a malaria formula.

Amid alarming rates of poverty and diseases across the African continent, its leaders meeting in Abuja Monday are planning to reschedule the timeline for achieving reasonable outcomes in the fight against poverty, HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis, an undertaking to be adopted by the Heads of States, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, says.

While other continents set their sight on 2015 for key development goals and a pushback against the diseases (MDGs), Africa will again be shifting its goal post from the earlier agreed 2015, to 2030, the document states, dousing any glimmer of hope of an immediate relief from the continent’s worst troubles.

The document is expected to be signed on Tuesday at the end of a two-day summit attended by dozens of African leaders, including Sudan’s ICC-indicted president, Omar al-Bashir.

Africa, for decades, has trudged largely behind the rest of the world, with many of its failings blamed on poor leadership and corruption.

The leaders have shifted past timelines as their governments, mainly reliant on foreign assistance and several of them facing internal strife, hardly pay sufficient attention to the ills their nations face.

The agreement, obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES, shows how that cycle is to repeat with new time frames set for the fight against HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Under the new schedule, the leaders say they will aim at eradicating HIV by 2030.

Steps to be taken include implementing “effective and targeted poverty elimination strategies and social prprotectionrogrammes that integrate HIV and AIDS, TB and Malaria for all particularly vulnerable populations.”

To that effect, relevant laws and policies at national and regional level will be reviewed to strengthen rights-based protection for all vulnerable and key populations in the context of the three diseases;

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There will also be an increased access to prevention programmes targeting the youth especially young women to ensure an AIDS-free generation, it states.

Mother-to-child transmission will also be eliminated while steps to accelerate children and adolescent access to Anti-Retroviral treatment will be taken.

Malaria

Although the latest scorecard commends Africa’s effort at reducing malaria by one-third, many of her countries, such as Nigeria, are still grappling with the deadly ailment.

As a turnaround, the leaders plan to explore the use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) for the control of malaria.

Experts have warned that DDT is a dangerous chemical with negative health effects. But Namibia’s Minister of Health, Richard Kamwi, told PREMIUM TIMES that “that (DDT) was what we used in the fight against malaria in my country Namibia”.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity

Most of Africa’s drugs are currently sourced from other continents, especially Asia and Europe.

The Heads of States say they will also reverse that tide by creating the needed environment to support innovation as well as manufacturing capacity in medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and laboratory reagents.

In that regards, Africa will explore in particular, South-South cooperation and collaboration with emerging economies to scale up investment in African pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity especially for generic essential medicines and other essential commodities.

With the deadline of the various developmental targets already in sight- 2015; about 900 days away, the leaders will also commit to ensuring that the post-2015 development agenda and the AU agenda 2063 focuses on health in general, particularly the elimination of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in Africa.

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