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Health ministers call for greater efforts to fight HIV/AIDS

Health ministers of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS - www.ceeac-eccas.org) have urged their leaders to step up efforts to battle HIV/AIDS in the central African region, with proposals including the establishment of a regional HIV/AIDS fund and the allocation of 15 percent of state budgets to the health sector. The proposals, made by the health ministers of ECCAS member countries on 12 November at the end of a regional conference held in the capital of the Republic of Congo (ROC), Brazzaville, will be submitted to ECCAS heads of state for final approval. The ECCAS is an economic grouping comprising 113.1 million people. Its members are: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, ROC, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe. [The latest UNAIDS statistics on these countries] Updated country-specific statistics were due to be published by UNAIDS in mid-2004, ahead of the next international AIDS conference to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, Dominique De Santis of UNAIDS in Geneva told IRIN on Monday. Other proposals made by the health ministers included the enactment of legislation to make anti-retroviral medications and health care accessible and affordable; promotion of the human rights of HIV-positive persons; reinforcement of regional cooperation and integration; implementation of poverty reduction programmes and national strategic plans for the fight against HIV/AIDS; and making operational the Conseil de Paix et de Securite de l'Afrique Centrale (COPAX) so as to resolve crises and prevent conflict in the region. The ministers also called on the international community to lend its support.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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