Center to Host Johannesburg Forum on AIDS Orphans
On July 21 the will hold a forum at the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg, South Africa on the local government response to HIV/AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. The forum marks the culmination of a series of initiatives on local governance undertaken by the Wilson Center's Comparative Urban Studies Project (CUSP) with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development in cooperation with the University of Michigan Population Fellows Programs.
"We know that AIDS in Africa is one of the greatest future challenges we face as a global community. Now the question is, what can we do about it and who is going to do it?" said Christina Rosan, CUSP project coordinator. "When you see the numbers, they are staggering: we are talking about millions of affected children and adults who will die in the next decade. I think Americans are just starting to perceive the extent of the problem. Our July 21st forum is just a jumping off point -- getting everyone in the same room was a challenge in itself. If all goes well, local and international communities will be able to start asking the right questions, which will lead to solutions eventually."
The forum aims to bring together local government officials and NGO leaders with AIDS experts and international development specialists. Specifically, participants will discuss:
* The extent of the HIV/AIDS orphans problem. The growing AIDS (9 epidemic in Africa has left 9 million African children orphaned, many with HIV or AIDS infections themselves. Experts predict that there will be 41 million HIV/AIDS orphans by 2010. But local and national government officials need to have an understanding of what these numbers mean in practical terms. How many orphans will be arriving in urban areas in the next ten years and what special challenges do they pose?
* Strategies to create an urban healthcare system that can adequately provide for the needs of HIV/AIDS orphans.
* Financing of AIDS orphans initiatives. How can already financially burdened local governments finance urban health care and other support programs? And can they raise the funds to make expensive drug treatment available to treat HIV/AIDS orphans?
* Role of national governments and the international community in assisting local efforts.
In considering these questions, participants will attempt to devise a plan that adequately addresses the needs of orphans affected by the deadly AIDS virus.
Panelists at the meeting include:
* Alan Whiteside, director, Health Economics & HIV/AIDS Research Division (HEARD), University of Natal, Durban, South Africa
* Mary Crewe, director, Centre for the Study of AIDS, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
* Maria Elena Ducci, professor, Institute for Urban Studies, Catholic University of Chile, and former guest scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center
* R Dlomo, mayor of Newcastle and representative from the South African Local Government Association (SALGA)
* Brian Moholo, national director, Urban Sector Network, South Africa
* Gugu Moloi, South African Department of Local Government and Constitutional Affairs
* Cathy Mbeki, Health Unlimited, a British NGO working with the Ministry of Health in Namibia, Africa
* Zachie Achmat, HIV/AIDS activist
* Rebecca Black, South Africa Housing and Environment Office, USAID
* Earl Kessler, deputy director, Urban Programs, USAID,
* Gilbert Khadiagala, director, Africa Project, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, D.C.
The Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg, where the conference will take place, is directed by Steven Friedman, a former public policy scholar of the Woodrow Wilson Center.