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The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibe, has encouraged African leaders to collaborate and put in place measures that will eventually lead to the production of medications (anti-retroviral drugs) that will help eradicate the HIV/AIDS disease from the continent by 2030.
“For this objective to be achieved research and policies in this area has to be intensified and harmonized on all fronts with the inclusion of into traditional medicine so that more meaningful results could be achieved in due cause”, he indicated.
“Despite the progress made in fighting the HIV/AIDS menace the world should not slide backwards and become complacent so as to roll back our achievements”, he noted.
Dr. Sidibe made the call at the opening session of the 17th International Conference on HIV/AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Cape Town – South Africa.
The confab was on the theme, “Now more than ever targeting zero, which invariably means: zero stigmatization, zero infections and zero deaths from the disease”.
According to WHO Sub-Sahara Africa accounts for 1.2 million deaths annually out of the total death population from HIV/AIDS globally, a trend which the UNAIDS boss wants to be reversed.
During the opening ceremony all speakers paid glowing tribute to the contributions of the late South African Statesman, Nelson Mandela for his immense commitments towards the eradication of the disease on the continent.
In that regard, South Africa’s Vice-President Kgalema Motlanthe urged global leaders to make the needed effort to meet the zero target agenda.
“The fight against HIV/AIDS has led to most economies saving resources as well as the lives of people hence all hands must be on deck for us to uphold the tenets and legacy of Nelson Mandela in this direction”, he noted.
In so doing, we must all work to uphold what Nelson Mandela stood for, which is, “ensuring a meaningful life for all regardless of status, colour or sex”.
On his part the President of Society for AIDS in Africa, Prof. Robert Soudre, appealed to China to emulate countries like Brazil, United Kingdom, USA, etc and contribute their quota to the Global HIV/AIDS Fund to generate more resources to fight the disease.
He was also glad about the increase in finance by the USA government through the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief which is meant to release more funding to sustain the progress made in tackling the canker.
All activists who spoke thanked the global community for their efforts in addressing issues surrounding the disease especially stigmatization but called for more action.