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Africa Fails To Meet AIDS Goals

Posted by pozlife on June 8, 2007

 by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 7, 2007 – 7:00 pm ET 

(New York City) Not a single country in sub-Saharan Africa is on target to meet U.N. goals of cutting extreme poverty by half, ensuring universal primary education, and stemming the AIDS pandemic by 2015, a new U.N. report says.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to ask leaders of the world’s richest countries meeting in Germany this week to step up aid to Africa so the targets can be achieved.

“Despite faster growth and strengthened institutions, the continent remains off track to meeting the world’s shared goals for fighting poverty in all its forms,” Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told a news conference launching the report.

While the proportion of people living on $1 a day has declined from 45.9 percent to 41.1 percent since 1999, the report said reaching the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015 requires that the current pace is nearly doubled.

Net aid to sub-Saharan Africa has increased by only 2 percent in real terms since 2005, Migiro said, excluding Nigeria, which received exceptional debt relief this year. The report said donors need to accelerate their plans to scale up assistance to maintain the credibility of their 2005 pledge to double aid to Africa by 2010.

“The upcoming G-8 summit provides an important opportunity for donor countries to lay out concrete timetables for how they will increase development assistance to each African country through to 2010 and 2015,” she said.

The U.N. report, released at the midway point between the adoption of the goals by world leaders at a summit in 2000 and the 2015 target date, showed some progress in getting more youngsters to go to school but little progress on goals to reduce child and maternal mortality and halt the AIDS pandemic.

Some sub-Saharan African countries have increased primary school enrollment from 57 percent in 1999 to 70 percent in 2005, even with a rapid population growth. But Migiro said “more investments in the sector are needed to meet the goal of primary education” for all children.

According to the new U.N. statistics, child mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa have fallen only marginally from 185 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 116 per 1,000 live births in 2005.

A woman in Africa has a one in 16 chance of dying in childbirth or from complications in pregnancy, compared to the likelihood of one in 3,800 of dying in developed countries, she said.

The report also said the number of people dying from AIDS continues to mount, reaching 2 million in 2006 in sub-Saharan Africa. New HIV cases are rising faster than the rate at which new treatment is being offered, it said.

Despite the slow pace in meeting the U.N. goals, Migiro said that important lessons can be taken from countries in Africa that are showing progress.

Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have increased primary school enrollment, the report said. It also said that Senegal and Uganda have better access to water and improved sanitation, and agricultural productivity has increased in Malawi.

“If Malawi can do it, so can all of sub-Saharan Africa,” said Guido Schmidt-Traub, head of a team at the U.N. Development Program promoting implementation of the goals. “Clearly this isn’t happening, and I think finances are a clear constraint at least in those countries that have met their side of the bargain.”

Source: Gay News From 365Gay.com

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