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    Empowering women to fight AIDS: Women's leadership is key, argues UN envoy for AIDS in Africa.

    Fleshman M

    Africa Renewal. 2007 Oct; 21(3):5.

    Out of nearly 25 million Africans today living with HIV/AIDS, almost 60 per cent are women, reports the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). In some African countries, more than two-thirds of people with the virus are women. It was therefore appropriate that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed an African woman, Ms. Elizabeth Mataka, as his new special envoy for AIDS in Africa. A citizen of Botswana, Ms. Mataka has lived and worked in neighbouring Zambia for many years, and since 1990 has been on the frontline of Africa's struggle against the disease, as a community activist, programme director and international advocate. At the time of her UN appointment on 21 May, she was serving as executive director of the Zambia National AIDS Network and as vice-chairperson of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The struggle against HIV/AIDS requires a far greater focus on women, says Ms. Mataka. "Unless we empower women not just economically, but with technology that they can initiate and control to protect themselves against infection, we will remain with very limited success," she told Africa Renewal from her office in Lusaka. (excerpt)
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