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African First Ladies Commit to Action on AIDS at Summit; International AIDS Trust Optimistic About Progress.

-- Declaration Calls for Summit's Issues on Women and Children to be Included

in Agenda for Upcoming UN General Assembly Special Session on AIDS --

KIGALI, Rwanda, May 22 /PRNewswire/ --

The First Ladies Summit on Children and HIV/AIDS closed today in Rwanda with the wives of African leaders and representatives of 16 sub-Saharan African nations reaching a consensus to push for strategies and resources needed to address the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the women, children and families of Africa. The First Ladies also called for leaders taking part in the June UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS and the September UN Special Session for Children recognize the recommendations of the Summit and incorporate the actions into the framework and outcomes of the UN sessions.

"The good news in the battle against AIDS is that, after much painful experience, we now know a great deal about what works," said Sandra Thurman, president of the International AIDS Trust, one of the groups that helped organize the summit. "From Abuja to Addis, and from Kigali to Cape Town, model programs have been developed, implemented, and proven successful."

During the Summit, the International AIDS Trust, in conjunction with Rwanda's first lady Madame Jeanette Kagame, the Rwandan Ministry of Health, USAID, and other local organizations, unveiled a model project that was later adopted into the Summit's Declaration. This project will build on the benefits of a mother to child transmission intervention by extending health care and support services to HIV+ parents and their children.

In the Summit's Declaration, the First Ladies committed to mobilizing the resources necessary for action in the following areas: 1.) HIV/AIDS prevention among youth and women, 2.) prevention of mother to child transmission, and 3.) children and HIV in armed conflict and post conflict situations. The First Ladies also pledged their personal commitment to this fight and agreed to form an African First Ladies Alliance Against AIDS.

Thurman noted in her speech to the First Ladies that the summit is an extraordinary opportunity because "history has shown that there is no greater force to contend with, no more determined, committed and powerful agents for change -- than women and mothers fighting for the lives of their children."

The International AIDS Trust was established to create strategic opportunities for galvanizing leadership, mobilizing resources, and promoting effective interventions in the global battle against AIDS. This mission is accomplished primarily through public education and program and policy initiatives. The Trust also helps develop innovative partnerships, alliances and investment strategies to channel public and private resources toward AIDS prevention and care, and supports strategic opportunities in the developing world.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 22, 2001
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