SAA Administrative Council (2022 – 2025)
Handover ceremony of the outgoing Executive Board and President, Prof. John Idoko to the newly elected SAA President, Hon. Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa and the Seventh (7th) Executive Board of the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) at the Africa Regent Hotel, Accra- Ghana.
|Hon. Dr. David Parirenyatwa,
|Pr. Mohamed Chakroun,
|Dr Aliou Sylla,
|Dr. Nonhlanhla Ignatia Ndlovu,
|Prof. Morenike Oluwatoyin Ukpong, Treasurer
|Hon. Wamala Florence Nambozo, Deputy Treasurer
|Dr. Ilunga Ina Mutombo Eleonore, Member
|Dr. Emmy J. Chesire,
On 24th March 2022, at the Africa Regent Hotel, Accra-Ghana, in accordance with articles 10.1, 10.2 and 12 of the SAA Constitution witnessed the handover ceremony of the outgoing executive board to the incoming executive board. After the regional electronic voting system from 24th May to 30th June 2021 which facilitated the elections of the new Administrative council members, six of the newly elected council members were at the SAA Headquarters in Ghana to democratically elect their new Executive Board for a tenure of four years (2022- 2025). The executive council elections were held at the SAA Permanent Secretariat, located at Adjiringanor, East Legon. The electoral commissioner was Dr. Meskerem Bekele Grunitzky from Ethiopia and member of SAA board of Trustees, seconded by Prof. Sheila Tlou, from Botswana, and member of Board of Trustees, serving as secretary to the electoral commission. This is the seventh executive board election in the history of the Society for AIDS in Africa. The past SAA presidents were:
The first President, Prof. Abdellah Benslimane from Morocco,
the second President, Dr. Pierre Kilebou Mpele from Congo Brazzaville,
the third President, Prof. Femi Soyinka from Nigeria,
the fourth President, Prof. Robert Soudre from Burkina Faso,
the fifth President, Dr. Ihab Ahmed from Egypt,
the sixth President, Prof. John Idoko from Nigeria.
The seventh newly elected SAA President, Hon.Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa from Zimbabwe
The following Administrative Council Members were elected as Executive office bearers:
President: Hon. Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa, Zimbabwe
Vice President: Prof. Mohamed Chakroun, Tunisia
Secretary-General: Dr. Aliou Sylla, Mali
Deputy Secretary-General: Dr. Nonhlanhla Ignatia Ndlovu, South Africa
Treasurer: Prof. Morenike Ukpong, Nigeria
Deputy Treasurer: Hon. Wamala Florence Nambozo, Uganda
Mr. Bernard Kadasia from Kenya was the master of ceremonies at the event. He welcomed all distinguished guests to the 7th Handing over ceremony. He then called upon the outgoing Secretary-General, Prof. Tandakha Ndiaye Dieye, to deliver his presentation on the overview of SAA’s status, achievement and impact. During his presentation, Prof. Dieye highlighted the major activities and programmes organized by SAA over the period of 2018 – 2021. Notable among the programmes organized were the Symposium of Zika Virus and Lassa Fever, supporting the Ghana AIDS Commission in organizing the 4th National HIV/AIDS Research Conference (NHARCON 2018), Blood donation exercise, community outreach programmes during World AIDS day as well as SAA’s numerous community outreach programmes in Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia.
Prof. Dieye made special mention on the organization of the just recent ICASA 2021 in Durban South Africa. He reiterated that organizing ICASA 2021 was very tedious due to the COVID-19 pandemic and also the changes to the mode of organizing the conference (from Hybrid to fully virtual) as it was the first time in SAA’s history ICASA went fully virtual. He stated that it was commendable to note that under the able leadership of the ICASA Director, Mr. Luc Armand Bodea, the SAA Secretariat had prepared contingency plans to make sure the conference was run successfully.
Mr. Kadasia then welcomed the outgoing SAA President, Prof. John Idoko, to give his address. Prof. Idoko acknowledged all distinguished guests and media present. He also asked all present to observe a minute of silence for the Late Prof. James Hakim of blessed memory, a member of the outgoing executive board. He stated that his tenure as SAA President took place from May 2018 when the mantle was handed over to him by the then outgoing SAA President of the 5th Executive Board, Dr. Ihab Ahmed from Egypt. He stated that in the last four years, the outgoing board had kept accountability and retinue of all audit reports, financial procedures and will be handed over to the ICASA Director/SAA Coordinator for onward transition to the incoming Executive Board.
He emphasized that SAA was the custodian of ICASA, yet ICASA is a well-known brand as compared to SAA and urged the incoming executive board to take up this task of having more visibility for SAA in the coming years through their programmes. He also mentioned that the outgoing board had made significant financial gains over the past 4 years and encouraged the new board to follow in that stead. Prof Idoko took the opportunity to acknowledge the outgoing board members for their selfless hard work, commitment and dedication.
Prof. Idoko mentioned that it was worthy to note that there were more women on the new executive board. He also asked the secretariat to continue to play its role with the unconditional support from the incoming executive board. He also mentioned that SAA should forge new research partnerships. He impressed on the incoming board to make the project of the building of the new ultra-modern state of the art office premises a reality. Prof. Idoko also recommended that SAA should take up leading role in promoting advocacy in the area of emerging diseases and vaccine production as SAA is strategically placed to promote this agenda.
Prof. Idoko finally thanked the outgoing administration, government of Ghana through the representative of the Minister of Health, the Director-General of Ghana AIDS Commission, partners and donors, the UN system especially UNFPA and UNAIDS, various stakeholders and civil society organizations for their support. He also made special mention of the ICASA Director/SAA Coordinator and the staff of SAA Permanent Secretariat for their dedication and support during his tenure.
Mr. Kadasia then invited Dr. Meskerem Grunitzky and Prof. Sheila Tlou, members of the board of Trustees to witness the signing and handing over of the mantle of leadership to the incoming SAA President, Hon. Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa. The newly elected executive board was invited to take the pledge of commitment. The pledge of commitment was read by Hon. Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa on behalf of his colleague executive board members. The newly elected Secretary-General, Dr. Aliou Sylla also read the pledge in French.
Mr. Niyi Ojuolape, Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on behalf of the UN System, stated that the UN system has been strong allies of SAA over the years through various joint collaborations. He congratulated the incoming Executive board and assured SAA of the UN systems continuous support and collaboration.
Mr. Kadasia proceeded to invite Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission and representative of the Minister of Health to deliver his remarks. Dr. Atuahene congratulated the incoming President and members of the new board on their election. He stated that the new executive board was deserving of their new roles entrusted to them and recognized that their rich academic and professional backgrounds would bring into reality SAA’s strategic objectives. He also stated that the global community had committed itself to ending AIDS and achieving epidemic control. He stated that Africa, known as the epicenter of the HIV epidemic, must do more to achieve these aspirational goals. He went further in saying that some African countries have shown that they were on track to achieve these goals especially the Kingdom of Eswatini for achieving the 95-95-95 target. He was confident that the new Executive board will provide the needed leadership to support African countries with advocacy, scientific knowledge and innovative tools to make ending AIDS a reality on the African continent.
Dr. Atuahene thanked the outgoing SAA President Prof. John Idoko and board for their meritorious service to SAA and the African HIV community as a whole. He stated that braving the course of COVID-19 pandemic to keep afloat SAA flagship programmes such as ICASA and other international symposiums. Even more praiseworthy was the remarkable show of resilience they demonstrated in organizing ICASA to ensure an unbroken stint in organizing the biennial premier HIV conference in Africa.
Dr. Atuahene stated that since SAA’s relocation to Ghana in 2009, Ghana AIDS commission has supported and collaborated with SAA over the years to achieve its goals and SAA has been an incredible partner in organizing the National HIV/AIDS Research Conference (NHARCON). He stated that given their rich expertise in this area of organizing conferences, SAA has partnered with Ghana AIDS Commission to organize the 5th edition of NHARCON. Dr. Atuahene mentioned SAA’s collaboration with Ghana AIDS commission transcends organizing conferences but also collaboration to use the new knowledge and innovations that were presented at ICASA to support the national AIDS response.
The newly elected SAA President, Hon. Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa acknowledged all invited guests especially the representative of the minister of health in the person of Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission, representatives from the UN system, Academia and civil society. In delivering his official address, he commended Prof. John Idoko and the past board members for their commitment and for organizing a transparent and democratic election which brought him into office. Furthermore, the new board would develop a new strategic plan that will help strengthen the organization in its advocacy role in Africa and will continue to work with all its partners and forge new partnerships in the future.
Hon. Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa also stated that the new board will ensure continuous collaboration with research institutions and civil society partners. He implored on the new board members to do more advocacy about SAA at the highest level. He also stated this new board will work with the government of Ghana to accord SAA with a diplomatic status, as SAA is an international organization and must be accorded with the necessary protocols. He mentioned that the new board will also look towards building its new headquarters. The President, Hon. Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa in his closing remarks, emphasized on domestic health financing on the African continent.
Mr. Kadasia invited Dr. Nonhlanhla Ignatia Ndlovu, to give the vote of thanks. She thanked all invited guests, the outgoing board, the incoming executive board, the master of ceremonies, media present and SAA Permanent secretariat staff for gracing this occasion. On behalf of the new SAA President and executive board, she committed to working towards achieving SAA’s set goals and objectives.
The first board of the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) was established in Kinshasa in October 1990 during the 5th International Conference on AIDS and Associated Cancers in Africa, a precursor to the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). ICASA is a biennial and bilingual (English & French) conference that convenes 7,000 to 15,000 delegates.
The formation of SAA with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), ended the practice of organizing the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, outside the African continent. At the same time, it empowered Africans to address and respond to the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS on the continent.