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Cablegate: Sudan Marks World Aids Day

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001945

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KHIV PGOV SOCI SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN MARKS WORLD AIDS DAY

REF: State 217347

1. On December 1, Sudan marked the occasion of World AIDS Day
with the Khartoum launch of the Global Campaign "Unite for
Children, Unite Against AIDS" at Friendship Hall. Sponsored
by the Ministry of Health, the Sudan National AIDS Program,
UNAIDS, and UNICEF, the event featured remarks by First Lady
Widad Babiker, who called for mobilization of national and
international efforts to protect children from AIDS. She
also noted that she would sponsor efforts to combat AIDS
through a forum of African first ladies during the African
Union Summit to be held in Khartoum on January 23 - 24.

2. Minister of Health Tabitha Sokaya affirmed the
government's combating of AIDS through its five-year action
plan, which President Bashir signed last year. UNAIDS
Program Coordinator Musa Bungudu stated that Sudan had the
highest rate of HIV infection in North Africa and the Middle
East. He called for the following actions:

-- While the Sudan National AIDS Program is doing well with
limited resources, the challenges it faces are enormous and
require that its financial, human, and logistical resources
be increased;

-- Sudan's AIDS response is fortunately of a multisectoral
nature, including both the public and private sector; they
need adequate funds and other resources to strengthen their
response;

-- People living with HIV/AIDS are stigmatized in many ways
in Sudan; they require recognition and support; and

-- Finally, the First Lady is called on to serve as patron
for Sudan's response to HIV/AIDS.

3. The event, and World AIDS Day in general, received
extensive media coverage. More than one thousand people
attended the event, including hundreds of local school
children.

4. Comment: Post used reftel text in a Dec 1 press release
on HIV/AIDS awareness and related USG activities. Post will
review potential avenues of support for the AU First Ladies
Forum on HIV/AIDS to take place in Khartoum during the
January 23 - 24, 2006 AU Summit in Khartoum.

HUME

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