Washington, DC (Vocus) April 11, 2009
The United States African Chamber of Commerce (USACC) has expressed concern recently following Pope Benedict’s visit to Africa last month, a visit which has caused outrage among health agencies and others who are on the front line in the fight against AIDS. The African Continent has the largest number of AIDS patients on the planet. And while a great deal of education and effort is being dedicated to protect people who are affected, there is a dire need for affordable vaccines in Africa. Both the Gates and Clinton Foundations have offered world leadership in the global effort to combat AIDS and to ensure the availability of affordable vaccines.
However, the Pope’s visit to Africa last month seems to ignore the reality of facing and treating this dreadful disease and epidemic and focuses rather on the message of sex and abstinence, showing little interest in joining the efforts of world leaders, such as the Gates and Clinton Foundations.
The Pope’s interest rather was directed toward the massive recruitment and conversion of West African nations into Catholicism. He evinced a lesser regard for the situation of African children who are dying due to lack of sanitation, clean water, education, and disease prevention and who are faced with being left orphaned by the loss of their parents to AIDS. It is not enough to face the African peoples and the victims of AIDS with a simple “Don’t have sex” slogan.
The U.S. African Chamber of Commerce is asking Africans to continue the fight against AIDS and to employ education and modern medicine as essential components in the fight to save families and our children of the future. The health concern of the African people is a major crisis, and messages such as those that the Pope is propagating are not welcome in Africa.
The USACC is the leading advocacy organization for U.S. African relations and emerging African markets. The USACC is the umbrella organization for African chambers of commerce and professional trade and business associations throughout the United States and abroad.