UN's envoy hails Malawi for wider rollout of free AIDS drugs


MalawiJames Morris, the United Nations special envoy for southern Africa, hailed Malawi for expanding the rollout of anti-retroviral drugs to reach 70,000 AIDS sufferers by the end of this year.

"This is a dramatic increase of 70,000 from 8,000 two years ago... lives have been saved and it's possible to be productive citizens again," Morris, on the second leg of a five-nation visit, told reporters here.

Morris arrived here from Zambia for a two-day visit, the last to the region of his tenure, and will meet government officials, donor representatives, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.

"It's part of a region-wide mission to urge governments and donors to take decisive actions to tackle long-term development," the UN said.

The envoy, who was appointed by UN chief Kofi Annan in 2002, said the AIDS pandemic had "impacted on agricultural production."

Morris, who is also executive director of the World Food Programme, flies on a private jet to Zimbabwe on Sunday, before winding up his final visit to the region in South Africa and Mozambique.

He will retire from the WFP and his role as special envoy early next year after a final report to Annan and his own successor.

source - AFP 

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