7TH December 2019
Prof. John Idoko, President of the Society for AIDS in Africa and President of the 2019 International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) has said that unless there is an increase in domestic funding, African states are not going to achieve their health commitments. He gave this caution as part of his remarks at the closing ceremony of the 20th ICASA held in Kigali on 7th December, 2019. He also reminded African leaders to commit to implementing the Abuja declaration which enjoins them to devote a minimum of 15% of their national budget to health. In his capacity as the President of the 2019 ICASA, Prof Idoko expressed his gratitude to all the actors and participants of the conference.
Hon. Dr Diane Gashumba, Minister of Health, Rwanda, expressed her country’s appreciation for the opportunity to host the 2019 ICASA and urged all to continue to explore the interconnection between HIV and other offshoots of health and development to inform policy and practice. She pointed out that until health is recognised as an investment, nations cannot achieve other development targets because these targets can only be reached on the bedrock of a healthy populace. She insisted that communities remain at the centre of the HIV response and have their voices heard, especially communities of women and adolescents who are disproportionately affected by the epidemic. Hon. Gashumba concluded with confidence that Africans will continue to build solutions for the problems that confront them as Africans.
Other speakers at the closing ceremony included a person living with HIV who lamented the incidence of deaths among PLHIV in spite of the advent of ARVs. She recommended task sharing of HIV testing and related services to augment the limited human resource in the health sector. She emphasised the crucial role of political leadership in the HIV response and urged governments to prioritise it. She also called for partnership among various actors of the HIV response including governments, CSOs, and the scientific research community among others because no one can achieve it alone. She finally urged the inclusion of communities in HIV programme design and implementation to ensure that no one is left behind.
The UNAIDS on the other hand has declared the last decade of the SDGs a decade of action. As presented by one of its Regional Directors, the UNAIDS underscored the value and benefit of political leadership in driving change basing this assertion on the remarkable Rwandan example. He continued that UNAIDS will enhance its HIV prevention leadership in the UNAIDS circles. He emphasised the need to empower girls, especially adolescent girls with the skills, knowledge and self-efficacy required to make informed decisions regarding their sexuality. He drew attention to the need to address harmful social, cultural, and gender norms through policy reforms and ensure access to age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education.
The Ghana AIDS Commission is a supra-ministerial and multi-sectoral body established under the Chairmanship of H. E. the President of the Republic of Ghana by Act 2016, Act 938 of Parliament. The objective of the Commission is to formulate policy on the HIV and AIDS epidemic and...find out more