In fact more than 33 million people, a number that exceeds the entire population of Canada, are living with HIV in Africa. “AIDS is really a disaster of the first order,” World Health Organisation (WHO) director for Africa Ibrahim Samba told participants at the 11th conference on AIDS in Africa on Sunday. “There is an urgent need for all African countries to declare Aids a national disaster,” said a coalition of Africans living with HIV/Aids, led by Lynde Francis and Moustapha Gueye
. Even the World Bank asked “on African leaders, the private sector and society at large to push the HIV/Aids crisis in sub-Saharan Africa to the centre of their national agendas in order to stop the fastest-growing threat to development,” in a statement released at the conference. All speakers sustained that AIDS is the greatest threat to economic, social and human development, being as much a political and economic question as it is a medical problem. At the conference the leaders committed themselves to making Aids issues a priority in all development programs, and to providing political leadership by increasing resources made available.