During its biannual meeting this 29th September 2016, organized by networks of civil society with the support of PEPFAR and UNAIDS country offices in Rwanda, speakers at the meeting reiterated the importance of civil society and commitment for a meaningful engagement of civil society in the in the national response to achieving an AIDS-free generation in Rwanda.
The representative of Rwanda Bio – medical Centre Dr Sabin has made it clear that Rwanda is on – good track to achieve the global HIV prevention and treatment targets but this will only be possible if everyone plays his role. The engagement of civil society organizations has always been and will continue to be on our agenda because we value their contribution to the attainment of national targets in HIV prevention, care and treatment he said.
The Deputy Chief of Commission at US Embassy in Rwanda, in his remarks commended Rwanda’s leadership and achievement in this journey towards controlling AIDS epidemic. Strong partnership with civil society organizations is essential in this journey towards ending AIDS epidemic as public health threat by 2030 he said.
In her presentation, Dr Placidie Mugwaneza highlighted the fact that though progress is significant towards controlling AIDS evidence – informed interventions are to be considered to be able to sustain gains and being able to control the epidemic
Certain groups called key populations were mentioned to attract attention of implementing partners for instance in the case of Rwanda female sex workers with estimated HIV prevalence of 41.4% higher than national HIV prevalence in general population (15 – 49 years old) stabilized at 3% since a decade.
Another important key population group for the response to AIDS epidemic is men who have sex with men (MSM) with estimated HIV prevalence 4%. Among other priorities for the next years implementing partners committed to scale up prevention services promote adherence on ART and retention in care programs.
Talking about the role of civil society in the fight against AIDS the representative of UNAIDS office in Rwanda quoted the UNAIDS Executive Director who said “Civil society advocacy, engagement and service delivery will play a critical role in translating the targets of the 2016 Political Declaration on Ending AIDS into real action on the ground to reach even the most marginalized people with life-saving HIV services.”
Based on the national priorities as identified through the Mid – Term review of the national strategic framework of the AIDS response, participants discussed on the role of civil society in prevention, care and treatment and strategies to address stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS.
Evidence – informed and results oriented programming and strong partnership was mentioned being among the key factors to achieve the goal of ending AIDS epidemic. The global targets include by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status. By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.