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The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) launched its Strategic Plan for 2011 – 2015 at the side-lines of the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). The event took place in Sheraton Hotel. The SAA presented its strategy, together with the long-term vision of an African continent free of HIV, TB and Malaria. Two thematic areas constitute the pillar on which the SAA strategic plan has been elaborated: Institutional Management and Strengthening, Research Policy and Enabling Environment.
Writing the foreword for the strategic plan, UNAIDS Executive Director Mr Michel Sidibé said that the recent progress seen in the AIDS response, such as the 20% drop in new HIV infections over the past 10 years, could never have been possible without the dynamic drive of the scientific community.
“The Society for AIDS in Africa [as the] custodian of the International Conference of AIDS and STIs in Africa offers researches, policy-makers and communities a platform for exchange, mobilization and promotion of scientific innovation,” said Mr Sidibé.
UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Programme, Dr Paul De Lay, who spoke on behalf of Mr Sidibé at the launch of the strategy, outlined that, in addition to adopting the UNAIDS vision Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS-related deaths, the SAA strategy also calls for zero malaria and zero tuberculosis, while advocating for the promotion of social justice and equity in treatment access. “We fully support this comprehensive vision,” said Dr De Lay.
‘’Bringing science and politics together—as AIDS conferences do—can really shape the agenda, set benchmarks and re-energize people to strive toward common goals’’ said Dr De Lay
The SAA’s five year strategic plan recognizes the need for increased evidence-informed programmes to respond to HIV in Africa. It capitalizes on SAA’s strength of ICASA as the leading forum for sharing AIDS research to drive policy on the continent as well as to advocate for an enabling environment to prevent HIV.
His Excellency the Ethiopian Minister of Health Dr Tedros, point out during his closing remark that ICASA has really contributed immensely towards achieving tangible positive African response to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS event thought we still have a long way to go ,he went further calling all stakeholder to support and sustain SAA activities.
Other speakers at the event were the President of SAA, Prof. Robert Soudré, IAS President, Elly Katabira the Executive Director of SAfAIDS Louis Chingandu, and Prof Sheila Tlous, Director of UNAIDS Regional Support Team Southern and East Africa who revealed that Durban , South Africa will host the 17th ICASA, scheduled to take place in 2013