SADC leaders discuss progress and future directions for AIDS, TB and malaria

SADC Heads of State and Government met on 18 August 2013 for a regional AIDS Watch Africa Breakfast meeting on the sidelines of the 33rd Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Malawi. The regional leaders reviewed  the progress made and the challenges that the region continues to engage with to address AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Key issues that were deliberated on include the following:

-Endorsed the WHO treatment guidelines and actively deliberated on universal access to testing and treatment for the SADC region;

-Took note of diminishing external resources and the urgent need to mobilise domestic resources.

-Committed to exploring innovative financing options such as the “pay-as-you earn” levy (modelled on the AIDS levy in Zimbabwe), airline taxes and fizzy drink levies;

-Acknowledged that while scaling up investments may appear expensive now, the costs of not investing would be higher in the future.

-Noted the need for continued global solidarity and shared responsibility and committed to rendering support in lobbying for increased funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria;

-Took note of the link between nutrition and AIDS and committed to ensuring food security and nutrition integration in the management of AIDS, TB and Malaria;

-Committed to lobbying the World Trade Organisation to be responsive to the needs of the region and review intellectual property rights while at the same time pushing ahead with pooled procurement (to capitalise on economies of scale) and local/regional drug production.

-Took note of the tremendous progress that the region has made in reducing mother-to-child transmission of HIV

-Agreed that eliminating transmission of HIV from mother to child and the goal of an HIV-free generation are possible.

-Committed to making every effort to ensure that the region achieves the elimination goal.

-Took note of the SADC Declaration on TB in the mining sector and the efforts being made to address TB.

-Noted with concern the lack of modern TB diagnosis equipment and the need newer drugs to address drug resistance.

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