Somalia is now prepared to take a countrywide approach to battling HIV/AIDS. Fearing that the pandemic could derail the country?s development, the Somali Transitional Federal Government Tuesday launched the South Central AIDS Commission.

Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi says, ?Somalis everywhere must be educated on how to protect themselves from the AIDS virus.? He also says support must be given to those already infected.

Leo Kenny is the country coordinator for Somalia for UNAIDS. Shortly after his return to Nairobi from Baidoa, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the new AIDS commission.

He says, ?The South Central AIDS Commission is the last of three AIDS commissions that have been set up. The first one in the northwest, second one in the northeast and this one now in the central south. It?s really ensuring that Global Fund money that has been brought to bear on this HIV/AIDS response and bilateral funding from the Department for International Development from the UK and other UN resources, they were put together so that the Somalis themselves could really be taking more charge to the response of an epidemic, which is an emerging one in all regions of Somalia.?