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African Leaders Must Act On Abuja Declaration To Make Progress On HIV, TB, Malaria

Musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka, a Roll Back Malaria and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador/MDG Envoy for Africa, writes in the ONE blog, “I remember the hope I felt in 2001, when African leaders met in Abuja, Nigeria, and each pledged to take measures to halt the spread of HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in addition to increasing their country’s funding for health to at least 15 percent of their annual budget.” She continues, “I saw it as a turning point in Africa’s history — a point where our continent would be able to emerge from decades of watching the potential of our citizens, communities, and countries be stunted by disease. But pledges don’t pay doctors, nurses or community workers, they don’t buy medicines, and they don’t keep the lights running in our hospitals.” Noting “[i]n July, our leaders will once again gather in Abuja, Nigeria, to review progress made on HIV, TB and malaria and discuss the state of the continent’s health,” Chaka Chaka writes, “Leaders can no longer look back on the 2001 Abuja Declaration and pat themselves on the back. They can only look forward to the work that must be done, and turn pledges and promises into action and resources” (7/12).