20 October 2008

Step up Aids fight, urges Hogan

More emphasis was needed in Africa to fight HIV-Aids, Health Minister Barbara Hogan has said.

Africa should put more effort and resources into the fight against HIV-Aids, Health Minister Barbara Hogan said on Monday.

According to statistics released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 22,5 million people infected by the HI virus are from sub-Saharan Africa.

"These statistics emphasise a need for us to invest more effort and resources to tackle this problem," she said, opening the seventh Pan-African conference of Red Cross Societies at the Sandton Convention Centre. She also made a call to delegates to beef up efforts that will ensure collaboration in reducing the malaria rate on the continent.

"It is a known fact that 80 percent of the global burden of malaria occurs in Africa. What we need out of this conference are clear plans that will indicate to us as governments how best we can tackle this problem, on an individual country level, country to country but also on the regional level."

'We cannot fail'
Hogan said that was what millions of people across the continent expected and "they are right in their expectation.

"We cannot fail, dare not fail the people of the our continent." She said child-headed homes was one of the main problems affecting Africa because children missed out on education and became exposed to sex work which in turn exposed them to diseases.

"They become attractive to warlords who use them as child soldiers in fighting wars that destroy infrastructure, economy and further contributes to underdevelopment," said Hogan.

She said the conference had to come up with clear plans detailing how the continent intended to address issues of sustainable livelihoods and volunteer management related to children. Migration remained another factor that continued to prevail in Africa as a result of political and civil instability, said Hogan.

Memorandum to be signed
"I am glad that this conference has identified migration as one of the issues that needs to be dealt with, given the impact it has on individuals, families and communities."

She said she was looking forward to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that South Africa would be signing with the SA Red Cross Society.

"I wish to assure this conference that this MoU will be signed as soon as our legal teams have finalised all the legal issues pertaining to agreements of this kind."

The memorandum would enable government to cooperate in supporting the development of the Red Cross Society and the Red Cross Air Mercy Service Trust into South Africa. - (Sapa, October 2008)

Read more:
HIV does cause Aids: Hogan
No quick fixes, says Hogan


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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