African Union Heads of State and Government on Monday adopted the AIDS Watch Africa Strategic Framework that will bolster the work of AIDS Watch Africa, the highest level continental vehicle for joint action, advocacy and accountability towards ending AIDS, TB and Malaria. During the meeting the leaders endorsed the Emergency Catch up Plan to accelerate the HIV response in West and Central Africa, a region that is lagging behind in its response. The meeting further endorsed the 2 million community health workers initiative that will build and create decent jobs while harnessing their capabilities in a seamless integrated health system.
‘We have a historic opportunity to end AIDS, TB and Malaria in this generation due to advancements in science, technology and improved delivery systems at the community level. Let us mobilise community workers, transform our health systems, build resilience and contribute to better health outcomes through increased investments in health,” said His Excellency Professor Alpha Condé, the President of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union and AIDS Watch Africa.
Leading the way for evidence-based advocacy, data-driven accountability and resource mobilization efforts
The new AIDS Watch Africa strategy seeks to further mobilise and sustain high level leadership and commitment and galvanise all stakeholders and actors to form partnerships to end AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030. Ending the three diseases is critical to the achievement of the bold aspirations of Agenda 2063 that seek to transform the continent’s development path. A key element of the strategy is to generate and disseminate strategic, culturally sensitive information to partners and others to ignite action at the international, regional, national and grassroots levels. The new strategy further seeks to strengthen accountability by Member States for measurable results and impact at the grass-root level.
The 15 year strategy will accelerate advocacy efforts to mobilise domestic and international resources to accelerate the implementation of commitments while increasing the efficiency of funding flows and spending. The framework will promote national level ownership among governments, the private sector and civil society.
Accelerating efforts to end the three diseases by 2030
While significant progress has been made in the HIV response, new infection rates remain high among young people especially young girls and women. Heads of State and Government committed to more concerted efforts and investments to address the unmet needs of young people and adolescents.
The meeting emphasised that the TB response continues to lag behind in terms of investments and response. Heads of State and Government committed to work on increasing coverage and access to services for detection and treatment of TB particularly for people living with HIV, children and mine workers.
The meeting further committed to sustain the gains made in the fight against malaria but raised concerns about the resurgence of malaria in particular in southern African countries that were reaching elimination stage. The meeting emphasised the importance of monitoring insecticide and antimalarial drug resistance and committed to invest in the development of new technologies and innovations to eliminate malaria.