OPEC backs UN efforts to combat HIVAIDS in Africas worsthit countries

Under the new accord, OPEC’s Fund for International Development will finance WHO-backed projects in 12 sub-Saharan African countries, where almost 80 per cent of the global burden of HIV/AIDS is concentrated. The region hosts more than 28 million adults and children living with HIV/AIDS – nearly 10 per cent of the population in sub Saharan Africa. Worldwide, there are an estimated 40 million people living with the disease.WHO Director-General Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland pointed to “encouraging signs” from countries such as Senegal and Uganda that the epidemic could be brought under control in Africa, but cautioned that more resources were needed to sustain these kinds of successes. “New alliances such as this one with the OPEC Fund are showing the way,” she said.”In recent years, the OPEC Fund has grown increasingly distressed at the scale of human suffering and the extensive loss of life caused by HIV/AIDS,” said Y. Seyyid Abdulai, who heads that Fund. He also drew attention to the disease’s devastating socio-economic impact. “By destroying human capital, eroding productivity and reducing growth AIDS is undermining decades of efforts to promote economic and social development, reduce poverty and improve living standards.”

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