French first lady praises Burkina Faso’s AIDS efforts
The west African country is an example and a success story in the fight against AIDS, says Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.OUAGADOUGOU – French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy praised Burkina Faso's fight against AIDS Wednesday, as she wrapped up her first trip as a goodwill ambassador for an AIDS fund.
"Burkina Faso is an example and a success story in the fight against AIDS," Bruni-Sarkozy said after talks with the country's president Blaise Campaore and his wife Chantal.
Earlier, Bruni-Sarkozy praised the AIDS fighting measures at a Ouagadougou hospital after meeting HIV-positive women and children being treated there.
"For me, the record is very positive in the sense that I have seen here that everyone works together and obtains results," she told the Burkinabe national AIDS council CNLS.
Bruni-Sarkozy also told reporters she wanted to create a foundation in France, but offered no details.
"I'm trying to put it in place right now," she said.
The wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy, Bruni-Sarkozy agreed in November to become a goodwill ambassador for the protection of mothers and children against AIDS for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Some 130,000 people, half of them women, live with the virus causing AIDS in Burkina Faso, one of the world's poorest countries.
Still, the west African country has managed to slice HIV infections from 7.4 percent in 1997 to two percent in 2005 - partly thanks to more condom use, the United Nations said in a report last year.
The number of HIV-infected babies born has also dropped dramatically in recent years, while the number of HIV-positive patients being treated with antiretroviral drugs has increased thirteen-fold in five years, the CNLS says.
Married to Sarkozy in 2008, Bruni-Sarkozy has morphed from being supermodel-turned-singer to first spouse.
On Wednesday, she dismissed the possibility of taking on another job in politics.
"I am not ready for a political career," she said.
Referring to France's former first lady Bernadette Chirac, who also served as a local politician in the south-central Correze region, Bruni-Sarkozy added: "She is a real political woman. She knows the work on the ground.
"I don't think I would be capable of doing that," she said.
After announcing her plans for the foundation, Bruni-Sarkozy added: "I want to uphold my engagements as ambassador for the global fund. I want to devote this year to my role (as ambassador) and my responsibilities as my husband's spouse."
Based in Geneva, the Global Fund oversees hundreds of programmes in 136 countries through public-private partnerships that have raised more than USD 11 billion (EUR 8.5 billion).
Bruni-Sarkozy expressed interest in helping fight HIV following a visit to South Africa, which has one of the world's largest AIDS caseloads.
She said she hoped her status as first lady could help advance a worthy global cause.
[AFP / Expatica]