- Lusaka, Zambia - Loss of
human capital to HIV/AIDS is triggering a capacity and development crisis
in Southern Africa, United Nations Development Programme resident representative
Aeneas Chuma has said.
- During the commemoration of the United Nations (UN) Day
yesterday which falls on October 24, Chuma named combating HIV/AIDS, malaria
and other diseases as among the millennium development goals critical for
- He noted that the Southern African region which Zambia
was part of, had the highest levels of HIV/AIDS infections in the world.
- He said HIV/AIDS was crippling capacities of affected
nations to meet their development goals including the day to day delivery
of services to their populations.
- "This became blatantly evident during the crisis
triggered by food shortages in six countries in the sub-region in 2002.
The problem became acute in the areas of health care, education and agriculture,"
- He said available data suggested that sector by sector,
the loss of human capital to HIV/AIDS was triggering a capacity and development
crisis as the epidemic claimed victims in their most productive years.
- He said in various circles, already weak public service
delivery capacity was further impaired hampering the ability of the country
to function and avert the epidemic's devastating impact.
- Chuma noted that communities suffered the dual burden
of coping with consequences of the epidemic and diminishing access to key
- He said women, who were typically caregivers and primary
producers of food spent less time on productive economic activities as
they devoted their energies on the chronically ill.
- Chuma also observed that the number of orphans in Zambia
was growing rapidly because of HIV/AIDS.
- "Thus, it is not an exaggeration to say that HIV/AIDS
is threatening not only the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals
but the future of the seriously affected nations themselves is at risk,"
- "These are daunting challenges for Zambia and the
- Chuma, said although efforts by the Zambian government
and co-operating partners had been directed at meeting the HIV/AIDS challenges
and that while the combined efforts were showing signs of containing the
spread of the epidemic, there was need for continued diligence and greater
- He said the UN system through the high level committee
on programmes was also additionally working on medium to long-term strategic
framework to guide it in responding to the inter-locked challenges of HIV/AIDS,
food insecurity and governance.
- "A complimentary strategy is being developed to
address the immediate threat to public service capacities posed by the
epidemic," Chuma disclosed.
- Chuma also noted that in the current global fight against
HIV/AIDS, the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan had appointed
Zambia's first Republican president Dr. Kenneth Kaunda to serve on the
new commission on HIV/AIDS and governance.
- Chuma also said the UN system recognised Zambia's principled
and active membership to the UN.
- He said the UN was proud of Zambia's invaluable contributions
including her sacrifice to help broker peace and stability in Southern
Africa, providing hospitality and shelter to refugees and her contribution
to bringing peace in Sierra Leone.
- And Dr. Chituwo who was guest of honour at the event
said success in implementing the MDGs required the collaboration and partnership
of all stakeholders.
- He noted that the MDGs were increasingly becoming the
basis of support by bilateral partners.
- He said the Zambian government had agreed to monitor
implementation of the MDGs within the framework of the poverty reduction
strategy paper (PRSP).
- Dr. Chituwo also noted that HIV/AIDS was a cross-cutting
issue and that it impacted on every aspect of Zambia's development.
- He said women and children bore the full effect of the
disease and that national security was being undermined by the pandemic.
"There is tremendous strain on the social system to cope with the
large number of orphans. In implementation of the MDGs, government has
put resources to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and its impact on communities,"
Dr. Chituwo said.
- He said the government was working in partnership with
other government's to tackle the pandemic.
- Dr. Chituwo said although the global fund for HIV/AIDS
was welcome and provided an impetus in the fights against the disease,
there was need to contribute to the fund in order to contain the disease.
- He, however, appealed for easy access to the fund so
that the government would be able to procure generic HIV/AIDS drugs urgently
needed. Commemoration was held under the theme' HIV/AIDS: A major factor
in the attainment of the millennium development goals.