Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister
10 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) aligning with the African Group, said much progress had been made in the fight against HIV and AIDS around the world, while in Ethiopia, new HIV infections had significantly declined. HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes had become part of the overall national development agenda. The accelerated expansion of primary health-care facilities, coupled with decentralization of HIV and AIDS services, had increased access to HIV services. The number of people tested annually had grown from 564,000 in 2005 to 9.4 million in 2010. Free antiretroviral therapy had been expanded, while progress also had been made in preventing mother-to-child transmission. The deployment of health extension workers in rural areas had helped create a popular movement against HIV and AIDS and increased active engagement at the local level.
He said that, despite the progress made, however, the fight was not yet won. That was particularly the case for low-income countries. Insufficient and unpredictable funding and costly treatment programmes threatened countries’ ability to provide universal access to drug therapy. In many low-income countries, a significant proportion of people living with HIV still lacked access to treatment. Similarly, millions of babies were born with HIV and many more were orphaned by the epidemic because of low access to services that prevented mother-to-child transmission. Stressing that it was vital to renew political commitment and partnership to sustain the progress made, he said it was also critical to accelerate access to treatment to millions of people in low-income countries to prevent deaths and stop the spread of HIV. International cooperation and the availability of predictable funding were paramount in supplementing national efforts. The sixteenth International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa would be held from 4 to 8 December in Addis Ababa, he noted.