As disease rates fall in Africa, EU urged to maintain health aid

Friday, July 19, 2013

Africa has made inroads in combating tuberculosis and the HIV virus, which along with malaria are leading killers in the sub-Saharan region, according to a new report by the United Nations’ AIDS agency and the African Union.

But while HIV and TB rates have fallen, the report shows that malaria deaths continue to rise in some countries and the insect-borne disease takes a particularly severe toll on mothers and children.

The report comes 12 years after African leaders made a commitment in Abuja, Nigeria, to spend at least 15% of their national budgets on health and do more to prevent the AIDS virus, TB and malaria. A month after the Abuja Declaration, the EU launched its ‘programme for action’ on infectious diseases to back up the African efforts.

Since then, domestic health spending in the 54 AU member states has grown fourfold – from $14 billion to $52 billion, equivalent to €40 billion at today’s exchange rate. However, private financing outpaced government spending, growing from $17 billion in 2001 to $55 billion in 2011, and just six AU nations have reached the Abuja target, according to World Health Organization figures cited in the report.

While both TB figures and HIV infections have been on a downward trajectory for a decade, the fight against malaria has been less successful and disproportionately kills pregnant women and children under five, says the UNAIDS/AU report released on Monday (15 July).

Source: EurActiv (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases