Malawi Pres. Banda launches UN Aids/Lancet Commission: From Aids to sustainable health

President Joyce Banda on Sunday launched the UN Aids/LANCET commission dubbed “From Aids to Sustainable Health” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Banda co-chairs the commission together with African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Peter Piot of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Speaking when she launched the Commission, President Banda said it  will afford the world a way forward that allows people to accelerate their march towards the end of HIV and Aids, an epidemic that has caused a lot of anxiety and trauma in the world.

Said President Banda: “This commission will help us utilize lessons learnt in our response to HIV and Aids that can be used to promote sustainable health. The lessons include political will and leadership, investment, appropriate programming, solidarity and greater and meaningful involvement of people living with HIV.”

President Banda flanked by UNAids boss, Rev Sembereka and an officila from UNaIDS

President Banda flanked by UNAids boss, Rev Sembereka and an officila from UNaIDS

President Banda said the launch could not have come at any other opportune time than now when among other things the African Union is celebrating 50 years of its existence and when there less than 1,000 days away from the target date of the Millennium Development Goals.

“The launch is also timely because it has come at a time when people are beginning to discuss what will be our next shared agenda post 2015,” said President Banda.

President Banda said the commission is critical because it will address HIV and other health related vices that have negatively affected the path to growth and development.

UNAids Executive Director Michel Sidebe thanked the President Banda for launching the commission and accepting to co-chair the commission describing her zeal a ‘major weapon’ in reducing the impact of HIV and Aids.

President Banda was accompanied to the launch by Foreign Affairs Minister Mganda Chiume, National Aids Commission Director Thomas Bisika, Presidential Advisor on NGO’s Reverend McDonald Sembereka and other top government Officials.

The Commission will also closely examine the new tenets for better global health results—including issues such as social equality for marginalised populations, empowering communities to demand better health services and accelerating access to affordable, quality medicines.

“As a new agenda for development is being shaped, it is time for serious thought on how the extraordinary lessons from the AIDS response can be brought to bear to transform global health,” said Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The Commission will have the opportunity to systematically reflect on evidence and make recommendations. Building on on-going consultations and the findings of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the recommendations will contribute to the deliberations of UN Member States. The Commission’s work will culminate in a report published by the Lancet in early 2014.

“In so many important ways, the AIDS movement created global health. Now, as the MDG era comes to a close, the AIDS movement once again has an opportunity to use its great success and influence to shape a new epoch of sustainable development. Our joint Commission with UNAIDS aims to set out possible futures for the AIDS epidemic and the role of the AIDS community in reinventing global health for the new and more complex challenges of the 21st century,” said Richard Horton, Editor in Chief of The Lancet.

The Post-2015 agenda builds on the original eight Millennium Development Goals that Member States agreed to in 2000, of which Goal 6 is focused on the AIDS response.

“Ending AIDS is a dream that is entirely possible,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “The AIDS response has brought the world together to create a vision of shared responsibility and global solidarity—we have the opportunity now to harness this momentum and build a sustainable future, a future without AIDS.”

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

The Lancet is one of the world’s best known and oldest general medical journals, publishing original research articles, review articles, editorials, book reviews, correspondence, as well as news features and case reports.  It is complemented by a number of specialty journals, each of which publish original research, news and reviews.

President Banda launching the commission

President Banda launching the commission

NAC boss Thomas Bisika and Foreign Affairs Minister Mganda Chiume listening attentively.

NAC boss Thomas Bisika and Foreign Affairs Minister Mganda Chiume listening attentively.

Not related to the Aids Function, President Banda poses with Fellow African Leaders at the Conference

Not related to the Aids Function, President Banda poses with Fellow African Leaders at the Conference

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