WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

African Union celebrates 50th anniversary with anti-disease declaration

The African Union celebrated its 50th anniversary on Monday by signing a declaration to defeat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis with the help of the Global Fund.

The Global Fund runs a replenishment program every three years and chairperson of the African Union, Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn called on more than 30 heads of state present in the meeting Monday to support the Global Fund in its goal of receiving $15 billion in contributions.

"All of us should make the replenishment of the Global Fund a priority," Hailemariam said.

The anniversary also marked a meeting of AIDS Watch Africa, where the declaration to defeat the diseases that plague Africa was signed. President Joyce Banda of Malawi spoke at the event as well, commending the countries on the progress that has been made to-date with the help of the Global Fund, which include antiretroviral medication and mother-to-child transmission prevention.

The Executive Director of the Global Fund Mark Dybul was present at the event and encouraged the countries to advocate for its new goal.

"HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are in retreat," Dybul said. "You have it in your power to achieve what no leaders in history have had a chance to: end AIDS, TB and malaria."

Dybul told the Africa leaders that the Global Fund would be its partner and servant in accomplishing its new doctrine. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shared his excitement with the leaders and urged them to continue their efforts.

"I am sure your partners, such as the Global Fund and the U.N., will support you," Ban said.