27th International Conference
of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

FIGHT AGAINST AIDS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Organisers: French Red Cross

Given that AIDS constitutes a major health problem in the developing countries today, the French Red Cross decided to hold this workshop in order to heighten the National Societies' awareness of the problem and to prompt them to consider what action and follow-up measures could be taken to prevent the disease and to provide care and treatment for AIDS patients.

There was a consensus among the participants that: the majority of AIDS cases are to be found in the countries of the South - 90% of the 33 million people suffering from the disease live in developing countries, with Africa alone accounting for 70% - while virtually all the drugs for treating the disease are to be found in the North; the disease is having a catastrophic effect on the socio-economic development of many countries, as reflected in particular by a sharp fall in life expectancy and numerous deaths among the most active sectors of the population; there is a very belated awareness of the ravages produced by the epidemic; declarations of intent, particularly by States, have not been put into effect, the financial resources allocated are inadequate, and the health services have not been properly organized.

While procrastination and inactivity had prevailed in the past, the Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement in particular had to become more active in the light of the new types of treatment available. Prevention programmes targeted at vulnerable groups and medical care of HIV-AIDS patients were complementary.

The successful ventures of countries such as Thailand, Uganda and Senegal has shown that resignation need not gain the upper hand, as it sometimes did. These success stories also illustrated, if necessary, the capacity of developing countries to meet the challenge and provide, with international organizations and NGOs, an appropriate response to the epidemic.

The workshop brought to light a number of successful initiatives: - in prevention: the 13 Asian National Societies in ART and the 10 West African National Societies of RANY-WA facilitated the exchange of experiences and skills in those aspects of prevention fostering the involvement of NS volunteers in the implementation of programmes that gave priority to education and information for the young by the young (peer education); - in treatment and care: the establishment of outpatient treatment centres, by OPALS (the Panafrican Organization for the Fight Against Aids) in association with the French Red Cross, in five countries (Burkina Faso, the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Morocco and Senegal). The centres test for the virus, and each centre provides medical and psychological care for about 250 HIV-AIDS patients each month.

Conclusion: The participants in the workshop expressed satisfaction at the efforts made by the National Societies of some countries relatively unaffected by the epidemic, and urged all those that had not yet found an adequate response to the problem to do so and to put the topic at the centre of their concerns. They confirmed the role and place of the Movement in the fight against AIDS, which was a priority for the future of mankind. They expressed the wish that the Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement intensify its efforts with a view to increasing its effectiveness, in particular by improving the coordination of ongoing activities and by spreading knowledge of them among the National Societies. The French Red Cross confirmed its commitment to supporting prevention programmes and to pursuing and developing its treatment and care activities in cooperation with its sister Societies in the countries most seriously affected by the epidemic. It was pleased at the favourable context in which the Movement was preparing to strengthen its commitment to the fight against AIDS.

 

 

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Workshops

The International Criminal Court

Volunteering 2000

People On War

Widowhood and armed conflict

Working in partnership

The humanitarian challenge of small arms proliferation

Fight against AIDS in developing countries

Ensuring respect for International Humanitarian Law

The SIrUS Project and reviewing the legality of new weapons

Use and development of SPHERE standards

Health and first aid training