Skip to main content

Africa’s biggest HIV and AIDS conference opens in Harare


By: Attah-Effah Badu

The largest gathering on HIV and AIDS, and Sexually transmitted infections, in Africa has 
officially commenced in Harare, Zimbabwe, under the theme; HIV/AIDS in Post 2015 Era: Linking Leadership, Science & Human Rights. 

Christened the 18th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA 2015), the summit, being attended by about 5000 delegates is to showcase new research findings, and strategies towards achieving the global target of ending the AIDS epidemic by the year 2030.

Delegates attending the conference comprise of renowned researchers, leaders, civil societies, Persons Living With HIV; policy makers, health experts; activists and other key stakeholders across the continent.

The conference, being organised by the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) is from 29th November – 4th December 2015. A bout a thousand research findings on HIV and AIDS and STIs are to be presented during the course of the conference.

A key objective of the biennial conference is to promote the development and scale up of evidence-based interventions for HIV and AIDS, and associate diseases in the post 2015 era.

Importantly, it is to strengthen the interaction between the public health, science and human right approaches in the control and elimination of the HIV/AIDS and associate diseases.

Opening ICASA 2015, at the Rainbow Towers Hotel, in Harare, the Vice President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, called on African countries to reinforce their   commitments towards making Africa an AIDS-free continent.

Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, commended African leaders and stakeholders for some key milestones achieved in the AIDS response, urging them to work  towards meeting the  UNAIDS 2020  goal of having  90% of all people living with HIV knowing  their HIV status, with 90% of them having access to treatment, as well as 90% of people on HIV treatment achieving  viral suppression.

For Ghana, and the rest of Africa, the conference provides a stage for the exchange of knowledge, skills, and best practices towards   this target.

The Ghanaian delegation, including the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Angela El-Adas, some commissioners, and resource persons, will have over a dozen presentations during conference. The team will host a satellite session on stigma and discrimination, and also share with the rest of Africa, the successes in its national response. 

The 2014 HIV Sentinel Survey (HSS) report reveals that the number of new HIV infections in Ghana has reduced from 13,272 in 2011 to 11,356 in 2014.

Ghana has rapidly scaled up its Antiretroviral therapy (ART) program by increasing the number of ART sites from 79 in 2010 to 179 in 2014.

Statistics from   2011 to 2014 indicated that, owing to key strategies and activities outlined by the Ghana AIDS Commission, more pregnant women are getting tested at early stages to ensure that actions are taken to prevent those positive from passing on the virus to their unborn babies. 

The Ghanaian delegationincludes;  Nana OyeLithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection Hon. Abdul Rashid Pelpuo ; Member of Parliament for Wa Central, and Minister of State, Private Sector Development .

Others are; Mrs. DzifaAblaGomashie-Ahiaglo, Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts; and Ms Mavis AmaFrimpong, the Deputy Eastern Regional Minister.

Meanwhile Ghana has put in a bid to host the next edition of the conference in 2017. Ghana will compete with other African countries to host what has become   the largest gathering on HIV and AIDS and STI’s in Africa over the years. The hosts for the 19th ICASA will be announced by SAA’s Council members in April 2016.  Cape Town, South Africa, hosted the 17th edition of the conference in 2013.

ICASA 2015  is co-chaired by Dr Ihab Abdel Rhaman Ahmed, President of the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), and Dr.Pagwesese David Parirenyatwa, Zimbabwe's Health and Child care Minister.

Present at the opening ceremony of the week-long conference were ; Mr  Michel Sidibé the Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti , WHO Regional Director for Africa.

UNAIDS estimates there were 1.4 million new HIV infections in 2014, in sub-Saharan Africa, a drop of 41% since 2000.

Currently there are about 11 million people in  Africa receiving HIV treatment, a massive rise from the about 11, 000  persons who were on HIV treatment  15 years ago.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Deputy AG sues Facebooker over 'malicious' Ameri deal

The Deputy Attorney-General and Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga East, Mr Dominic Ayine has filed a defamation suit at an Accra High Court against a Facebook commentator, Evron Hughes.
In Mr Ayine’s statement of claim, sighted by Graphic Online, he accused Mr Hughes of defaming him in a post he authored and published on Facebook on December 21, 2015, titled “RE: AMERI TRANSACTION”.
According to the Deputy A-G, the “false and malicious” post has provoked “public disaffection” against him and exposed him to public ridicule and contempt.
Describing Mr Hughes as a “self-styled social media blogger and a social commentator”, Mr Ayine said the Facebook post had brought his hard-won reputation “as a respected politician, teacher and lawyer” into “hatred, ridicule, odium, discredit, contempt, opprobrium and reproach”.
The Deputy A-G said the “defamatory words” were authored with the sole intent to reduce him in the estimation of all right thinking Ghanaians, adding that he had received numerou…

Meet Ghanaian female shoemaker

The Saint Ozwald shoe brand

By: Fred Yaw SARPONG
The Daily Express

From her humble beginning in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo region, a senior high female graduate from the Twene Amanfo Senior high in the Brong Ahafo Sunyani and a Ghanaian now boasts of being one of the most popular Made-in-Ghana shoe brands and has the most number of celebrity endorsements.
Sandra Ozwald, CEO of Saint Ozwald

After Sandrah Ozwald completed school in 2013, her parent couldn't have enough money to help her continue school so she planned to do something for herself by selling ice cream, groundnut cakes or food. Back at the senior high, Sandra used to make groundnut cakes, condensed toffees and ice cream to support herself since her mother couldn't provide all for her.

With 12 siblings and the only girl child (2nd born) among them, and whiles planning which of these to sell, Sandra attended a friend’s wedding and the grooms shoe looked so attractive to her.

According to her, the groom’s shoes were Ma…