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. Red Cross Unveils Mass Southern Africa AIDS Project

The number of African children whose parents have been hit by the disease is growing rapidly.
by Staff Writers
Johannesburg (AFP) Nov 01, 2006
The Red Cross unveiled ambitious plans Wednesday to help 50 million people in southern Africa combat the scourge of AIDS, as it appealed for hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the programme. The Geneva-based organisation said it needed 300 million dollars to pay for its campaign to battle the disease in 10 countries in the south of the world's poorest continent, home to some 12.3 million people living with the AIDS virus.

"We cannot stand by anymore while the scourge of HIV/AIDS continues to extract its daily, deadly toll across this land," Mukesh Kapila, a senior envoy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told reporters in Johannesburg.

"We know what must be done, and we are growing impatient to be allowed to do more, and do it better," said Kapila.

Francoise Le Goff, the federation's chief representiative in the region said the five-year project would cover Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

"That is 50 million people we plan to reach," she said. "We will also provide services to more than 250,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS and 460,000 children that have been orphaned or made vulnerable by the disease," she said.

The number of children whose parents have been hit by the disease is growing rapidly and their plight was recently highlighted when pop star Madonna applied to adopt a 13-month-old baby from an AIDS orphanage in Malawi.

Le Goff said it was important aid agencies and national governments worked together to avoid duplication and "move the overall response to this epidemic to a larger scale."

Kapila said Western countries which have previously promised money to help combat the disease had sometimes failed to stump up the cash and needed to "walk the talk."

"Lots of pledges have been made ... but we are still waiting to see the effect on the ground," he said.

His comments echo those by the UN's special envoy for HIV and AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, who accused the world's wealthiest countries earlier this week of failing to deliver on promises to increase aid.

The world's seven richest nations and Russia (G8) pledged at a summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, in July 2005 to provide universal access to treatment for AIDS sufferers in Africa until 2010.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Red Cross
The science and news of Epidemics on Earth

China's Dirty Secret
London (UPI) Nov 01, 2006
In an apparent failure to learn from the lessons of the 2003 SARS epidemic, the Chinese government has been holding back vital information relating to the emergence of a new strain of avian influenza, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

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