Statements and Webcast
H.E. Dr. Richard Kamwi, Minister of Health and Social Services
8 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
RICHARD NCHABI KAMWI, Minister of Health and Social Services of Namibia, spoke on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as for 11 million people living with HIV in the region, saying that they would continue to forge the regional response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic, guided by the “Maseru Declaration”. Progress had been made in fighting the AIDS epidemic in their region, with the percentage of adults living with HIV decreasing by up to 25 per cent in the nine most affected countries. Most of their countries now had Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission coverage rates of greater than 70 per cent and three had managed to reach 90 per cent. However, the number of newly infected people still outstripped the number of people starting treatment, and 2 million plus people who required treatment did not have access.
The sustainability of funds, particularly from outside the region, was threatened by the global financial crisis and changing donor priorities, meaning that SADC countries were obligated to find tangible solutions to their priorities, he said. They had re-pledged to increase national health budgets towards the 15 per cent Abuja Target of African Union Member States and would explore various innovative strategies aimed at mobilizing domestic resources, such as Zimbabwe’s AIDS Levy, which was collected from all workers’ salaries every month. SADC countries were encouraged to create a core strategic financial plan for the health sector, but without international solidarity and external support, their AIDS responses would be significantly undermined. They requested continued and increased financial assistance through international mechanisms, such as the Global Fund and through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. They also asked for technical support for local capacities and for the invigoration of research to find a cure to HIV and AIDS.