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His Exellency the Representative of Tunisia Ministry of Health
His Excellencies Ambassadors of various countries here represented;
Representatives of UNAIDS, UNDP, WHO;
Representatives of People leaving with HIV/AIDS in Tunisia;
Representatives of MSM and Key population in Tunisia;
Eminent Tunisian Scientists:
Dr Grunitsky Meskerem , UNAIDS Advisor
Prof Seni Kouanda Secretary General of SAA;
Mr Luc Armand Bodea Coordinator of SAA Permanent Secretariat; Prof Kamoun Vice Chair of ICASA 2015;
With all protocol duly observed,
I would like to thank you all for witnessing the first step to hosting the 18th Edition of ICASA 2015 in Tunisia. I am privileged today to sign the hosting agreement with ATLMS – Tunis with the support of the Tunisian government backing the most prestigious AIDS conference on the African continent, the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA 18th Edition).
If I may recall ICASA was held in Northern Africa since 1993, it was then the 8th Editions, organized by the first President of the Society for Aids in Africa , Prof Bensilman in Morocco ( Marakech).
I would like to congratulate the civil society organizations and government of Tunisia for their unrelenting support for Tunisia’s BID, please extend my gratitude to the President of Tunisia , Prof Moncef Marzouki , who personally took his precious time to welcome SAA delegation during ICASA 2015 BID assessment visit held in 2013.
People may ask why the SAA is organizing ICASA 22 years after the first in the Northern region where the prevalence is so low. I will gladly respond that where there is one, only one case of AIDS and related diseases, marginalization, stigmatization human right issues in the continent then The Society for AIDS in Africa as the custodians of ICASA will be present to strive for the agenda ‘’zero’’ to be a reality. In 2013 we were in South Africa to share experience, best practice, voice out against marginalization of key population with our brother in the southern Region where the prevalence rate is so high, but in 2015 we will be hosting the 18th Edition here where the prevalence is very low, these show that we need to learn from both side of the divide if we really want to eradicate VIH in Africa.
However 2015 is one of the milestones in the human race pertaining to the United Nation Millennium Development Goal, ICASA Tunis will serve as the platform to formulate new strategies, to take stock and to strongly emphasize on the right direction of the post MDG.
Dear Friends and colleagues as we are planning towards the post MDG, how can Africa be able to attend the MDG when the youth who supposed to be the engine of development are kidnapped? SAA with it Platform , ICASA 2015, will take the opportunity of this tribune to join the International Community to ask BOKO HARAM ‘’ Please release our daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters, mothers and wives to be’’ they are the future of our continent.. Come to join forces with us to fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria in Africa, our indisputably deadly enemies.
Long Live to our Girls in Nigeria,
Long Live to ICASA 2015
Long live to SAA
Long Live to Tunisia
Dr. Ihab Ahmed