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India reaffirms commitment to Africa in fight to End AIDS Epidemic by 2030

India reaffirms commitment to Africa in fight to End AIDS Epidemic by 2030
Highlights

India stands committed to the world in its fight against HIV and AIDS, and particularly to the African nations, in the combined resolve to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

India stands committed to the world in its fight against HIV and AIDS, and particularly to the African nations, in the combined resolve to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. India will extend all support and cooperation in sharing its knowledge and expertise in developing shared frameworks of cooperation and means of implementation towards meeting this goal. This was stated by the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Shri J P Nadda at the India-Africa Forum Summit to “End AIDS Epidemic by 2030”, here today.

Complementing the African nations in their resolve to end the AIDS epidemic and the significant reductions in the number of new AIDS infections in several countries in Africa as a result of their sustained collective efforts, the Health Minister stated that “India learnt from Africa’s early experience in responding to AIDS in increasing awareness and providing services to key populations, and in expanding access to treatment. Today also we are applying Malawi’s B+ strategy in India to ensure that no child is born with HIV and all children have access to treatment. The learning from these exchanges helped India to formulate its successful strategies for combating AIDS”.

Shri Nadda said that India is happy to partner with Africa in providing safe, affordable and accessible antiretroviral medicines. He added that in this context, commodity security for medicines must be a major area of focus. India is committed to ensuring that the TRIPS flexibilities will be fully harnessed to provide sustained and uninterrupted access to life-saving medicines as it has proved to be a lifeline for the poor.

Noting that economic growth is not possible without ensuring that there is a healthy society that takes care of its people using the principles of equity, social justice and community empowerment, Shri Nadda pointed out that we must make it easy for communities to access benefits of new scientific research and health. That means creating health regulatory frameworks and means of implementation that will ease flow of quality medicines, technology and optimization of the health workforce to reach maximum people in India and Africa.

The Union Health Minister applauded Kenyan President Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta’s idea to create a joint India-Africa cooperation framework on HIV and health commodity security, noting that it is critical and assured to take forward this recommendation. Shri Nadda also welcomed the suggestion for the engagement of young people in combating AIDS and developing leadership in the newer generation. He stated that success stories of South Africa in making ART available to its people and its Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) programme are initiatives that India can emulate.

The Minister of State for Health, Shri Shripad Yasso Naik stated that India has come a long way in its response to AIDS/HIV and this has been possible through the support and collective efforts of various stakeholders. The Minister added that elimination of AIDS by 2030 is possible through mutual cooperation between nations.

President of Kenya, Mr. Kenyatta in his address at the Summit stressed on commodity security in healthcare, sustainable access of life saving medicines to people affected and infected with HIV, importance of government’s commitment in ending the AIDS epidemic in African nations, and operational cooperative frameworks between regions such as India and Africa foe enhanced partnership in production of medicines and capacity building. He stated that India can help the African countries through its knowledge and expertise in manufacturing of life saving drugs so as to enhance their domestic drug manufacturing capacity. He also urged states to invest in the healthcare industry, and to create financing models and frameworks such as to attract private funds. He also urged development partners to bridge the financing gaps to foster partnerships.

These sentiments and commitments were echoed by the representative Ministers from Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda and Togo. The Executive Director, UNAIDS, Mr Michel Sidbe also stressed on the importance of local production of AIDs/HIV drugs in the African countries and India’s leading and partnership role in making this possible. The Dy. Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Erastus Mwencha stated that India and Africa share the same aspirations and unique experiences to learn from each other. He appreciated India’s help in Africa’s fight against AIDS, and highlighted India’s role in strengthening the health systems in Africa through capacity building, supply of affordable medicines and sharing of technology.

Shri B P Sharma in his remarks highlighted the partnership between India and Africa in combating AIDS in the continent.

Present during the summit were senior officers from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, academicians, experts, and representatives from the Development Partners. The ‘India Africa Forum Summit to End AIDS Epidemic by 2030’ was held today on the sidelines of the two-day India Africa Forum Summit which concluded yesterday at New Delhi.

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