Date | 2012-6-12 10:48:02
Kenya’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, said here Monday that the international community is at an important point in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS.
“The world is at a crossroad,” she said. “HIV/AIDS is still devastating large sections of our communities and seriously reversing the modest gains made thus far.”
Ojiambo made the remarks at a UN General Assembly plenary meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the Political Declarations on HIV/AIDS.
The Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, passed in 2001 at a special session of the assembly, set out goals for world action in combating the disease. In June 2011, the General Assembly endorsed a new political declaration on HIV/AIDS, which included new targets and commitments for the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
“Countries in Africa are at different stages of addressing the pandemic with mixed results,” Ojiambo said. “While several countries in the region have for the last 20 years registered some success in the right against the pandemic, the situation is still grave.”
In her views, the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the sixth MDG, which involves combating HIV/AIDS, is fast approaching.
“We cannot possibly begin speaking of the ‘beginning of the end of AIDS’ when millions upon millions cannot get essential HIV/AIDS- related interventions, new infections continue and international funding is on the decline,” she said. “The consequence is that, the world shall miss the 2015 targets by a considerable margin there by rendering a serious indictment on our collective commitment to fight this scourge.”
Nonetheless, Ojiambo said the challenge of HIV/AIDS is ” surmountable.”
“Indeed, over the past decade, several countries in Africa, including Kenya, have demonstrated that the epidemic can be tamed by adopting and coordinating an aggressive multi-sectoral approach strategy deeply entrenched within the community and with committed leadership at the highest levels,” she said.
She said Kenya has succeeded in cutting the rate of new infections and increasing knowledge of HIV prevention methods and testing. The country is still working to improve several aspects of its response to the disease, including helping lower costs for treatments and campaigning to reduce stigma placed on people suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment, and support services goes beyond the provision of anti-retroviral drugs to those who need them, she said.
“It requires trained healthcare professionals, suitable facilities, current information and increased funding, all integrated within a fully functional healthcare system,” she said. “It is incumbent upon us to act, to act in order to help our people.”