December 5, 2023

‘Victory Over HIV/AIDS Imminent’

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Africa should work towards producing a viable African Traditional Medicines pharmaceutical industry riding on its rich knowledge and vast natural resources while avoiding complacency in the fight against HIV, President Mnangagwa has said.


He said deliberate and concrete action plans based on science are essential in the fight against HIV as conferences, meetings and workshops alone are inadequate to beat back the pandemic.


Speaking at the official opening of the 22nd International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Harare yesterday (Monday), President Mnangagwa said the theme of the gathering, “AIDS Is Not Over Address Inequalities, Accelerate Inclusion and innovation”, is a befitting reminder of the need to remain focused and avoid complacency.


His Mozambican counterpart, President Filipe Nyusi, was in attendance as Zimbabwe hosted ICASA delegations drawn from across the globe.


The conference, which has drawn more than 8 000 delegates, began yesterday and ends on Saturday.


In his speech, President Mnangagwa challenged Africa to keep its eyes on the ball and consolidate the milestones achieved over the years.


“We should never relax; AIDS is not over. The pandemic remains one of the salient threats to sustainable socio-economic development.


“As a continent, we must harness our rich and diverse flora and fauna endowment through the deployment of science, technology and innovation, to establish a vibrant African Traditional Medicines pharmaceutical industry.


“We must, as Africa, never shy away from building on our rich African knowledge systems and God-given resources to have scientifically viable medical products and solutions for our communities. Through such an approach, we should reverse the high disease burden and related mortality on our continent,” he said.


The President said given the growing incidences of epidemics and conflicts, coupled with the negative impact of climate change, the conference is most opportune as it allows Africa to reflect on its ongoing responses to HIV/AIDS at both the continental and global levels.


“Equally, there is a need to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic holistically, including through addressing matters to do with guaranteeing food security and nutrition of our communities beginning at the household level.”


President Mnangagwa said encouraging early testing and promoting treatment adherence, as well as fighting stigma and discrimination remain key aspects to reversing silence and untreated infections.


He said it was also imperative to sustain focus on social and cultural practices that increase risk and exposure of women and children to HIV.



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