26 March 2018

Rwanda: Call for Solidarity, Accountability in Global Fight Against HIV

The Minister of State in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Dr Patrick Ndimubanzi, has called for global solidarity and mutual accountability in efforts to advance the health sector.

He made the remarks during a press conference that was held on Saturday to launch the first phase of the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) that will be held in December 2019.

The launch also aimed at calling for bids to brand and design the ICASA logo and theme.

"We are looking forward to having a comprehensive discussion on the latest evidence, policies and strategies that we need to put in place in order to tackle HIV, sexually transmitted infections but also the comorbidities," Ndimubanzi said.

He added that this is the opportune time to address challenges that are still prevalent in the fight against HIV.

"It's at a time when we are talking about free movement and goods all over Africa, a time when we are talking about achieving the SDGs and it's very opportune to talk about HIV, its comorbidities and how to reach the set goal of giving people a productive and healthy life throughout."

The conference will serve as a platform for the community to review together the latest science research findings, policies and strategies that are there to address the disease.

"So as policy-makers we want to see the latest science policy and the strategy that our sister countries are adopting and we also want to be able to speak with the community on how to address some of the challenges we are facing with HIV."

Rwanda has made steadfast progress in fighting and combating HIV/AIDS. HIV prevalence has been maintained at 3% for the past decade. New prevention inventions are often rolled out with the most recent being the oral self-testing method.

Other preventive measures include scaling up of voluntary counselling and testing services and placing mobile condom kiosks in high risk areas.

Luc Armand Bodea, the Coordinator for Society for AIDS in Africa, said the conference is an opportunity to know the new trends about HIV.

"As we are talking now, people continue to be victims of discrimination but, more than this, we are still facing challenges. ICASA is giving a platform, for those that could not voice out the challenges that they are facing on a daily basis and to go beyond barriers," he said.

Dr Namwinga Chintu, Board Member of Society for AIDS in Africa, said this is a special conference because it is a gathering for Africans and by Africans.

She said it's a platform where implementers and African scientists share experiences and knowledge on HIV.

"We are excited that the Rwandan government is really keen to get this process underway. We are happy to partner with you to make this a success."

About the conference

Rwanda is the host country of ICASA 2019 and the logo of this edition will reflect the country's values, the SDG's, the 90-90-90 goal and the end of AIDS by 2030.

The 2019 conference will be the 20th edition.

The ICASA organisers hope to get an identity to brand the upcoming edition in order to get the best and appropriate logo for the conference. The contest for a creative logo for the conference will earn the winner a prize.

The contest is open to all African countries. However artists, mainly people living with HIV, are most encouraged to participate.

ICASA is a major and only bilingual international AIDS conference which takes place in Africa.

It has been organised since 1990 to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS through an African continent free of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria and the debilitating effects which these diseases have on communities.

So far, ICASA has been hosted in 14 countries, with more than 100,000 direct participants.


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