Oxfam reacts to AIDS Conference 2006

Published: 21 August 2006

Oxfam International took part in this year's international AIDS conference in Toronto, Canada, which brought together practitioners, policy makers, activists and scientists from the world over. When the conference drew to a close on Friday, August 18, Oxfam offered its reaction.

Oxfam Policy Advisor Dr. Mohga Kamal-Yanni said:

AIDS 2006 succeeded in demonstrating that communities across the world are delivering innovative prevention, care and treatment – and doing it on a shoestring.

“But governments North and South remain in denial. With a few notable exceptions, they are still not putting their full weight behind scaling up the response, rebuilding health systems, and removing barriers to access to medicines.

“The great challenges were made evident: The medicines are in the North and the people who need them are in the South. The exodus of health care workers from poor countries to rich continues unabated.

“Let us not forget the urgency of the matter. Since the conference began 50,000 people have died of AIDS-related causes and another 80,000 have become infected.”

Oxfam Canada Executive Director Robert Fox said:

“The single lesson of AIDS 2006 is that it is high time the politicians caught up with the rest of us. The impressive efforts of citizens and science will not succeed without dramatic engagement from our political leaders.

Regarding the absence at the Conference of Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, Mr. Fox added: “Mr. Harper’s inexcusable absence must never be repeated. Let this be the last International AIDS Conference that political leaders, North or South, deign to ignore.”

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