Local leaders in Kigali city have today expressed their commitment to take on advanced Super-Fast-Track framework to end HIV/AIDS among children and adolescents.
A civil society organization We-Act convened a two day meeting with local leaders under the auspices of UNAIDS that culminated in a close study on the status of AIDS epidemic and discussions on strategies that can gap in HIV testing and ART treatment in Kigali.
Opening the meeting Madame Chantal Benekigeri of We-Act for Hope recommended Rwanda’s good governance and involvement in civil society organizations in the fight against AIDS.
The new initiative in Kigali will support the implementation of the Fast-Track cities imitative to end AIDS.
We-Act for Hope expects to scale up prevention of prevention of new HIV infections, and improve quality care in its clinics, she said.
Rwanda has managed to maintain HIV prevalence at 3% in the last ten years. In Kigali the prevalence is estimated at 6%. This calls for strategic evidence – informed interventions in the City to be able to control the epidemic.
Rwanda Biomedical Center representative Innocent Kamali called on evidence informed programs on young people and adolescents to focus on young women. He said that the prevalence among the 15-24 year is 1% and adolescent girls and young women are five times, 2.5%, likely to be infected than peer boys at 0.5%.
He urged participants in the fight to end the epidemic to use the evidence informed programs to respond to key population like sex workers with the 41.4% prevalence between the 15-24 year ages countrywide including Kigali cities.
UNAIDS country office representative said that the engagement of local leaders in the fight against AIDS in essential.
United Nations in the High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS committed to engage all actors in that fight.
This is accord with the world’s commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Everyone is urged to contribute.
“The world today intends to advance Fast-Track Cities Initiative to avoid the high prevalence in cities compared to rural areas,” Dieudonne Ruturwa said.
UN Sustainable Development Agenda political declaration on HIV/AIDS says; Fast Track will accelerate the fight against HIV to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The declaration was signed June this year.
The declaration says to end HIV there is need to have a strong leadership, engagement of people living with HIV, train communities and local leaders.
In July 2016, Rwanda launched the “Treat All” and the All –IN programs. All these pieces fit together in a puzzle designed to address the aspects of the HIV epidemic that remain to be addressed.
Participants at this meeting were briefed about the global commitment for Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free initiative, launched in 2016 and led by UNAIDS, PEPFAR, UNICEF and other partners. The initiative would build on the Global Plan by executing its work through the Super-Fast Track that scales up HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support services for children, adolescents and young women.
It would then elevate and amplify already existing efforts that are accelerating the process like the DREAMS Partnership, Accelerating Children’s HIV/AIDS Treatment (ACT) Initiative and the All-In.
The AIDS Free initiative on the other side would cater for the 1.6 million children between the ages 0-14 years and 1.2million adolescents 15-19 years living with HIV often isolated from taking antiretroviral therapy to 2018. Participants were encouraged to click at http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/Stay_free_vision_mission_En.pdf for more details about Super – Fast Track global targets.
Dr. Fabien, HIV specialist at UNICEF – Rwanda said that knowledge on sexual and reproductive health, HIV and Sexual-Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is essential now more than ever to positively change the behaviour and utilization of prevention services.
He noted that Voluntary HIV testing, condom use, and medical male circumcision, Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV positive adolescents, PMTCT and Post exposure prophylaxis for SGBV victims and preventing teenager pregnancies by family planning would contribute to the effort to end AIDS as public health threat in the next decades.
The Social Affairs secretary at Kimisagara sector Odette Mukandahigwa said that they are now equipped with knowledge to prevent new HIV infections among children, young women and adolescents and promote adherence on ART for those who are infected.
She cited that local leaders are committed to and will continue working with national institutions in charge of HIV response to support awareness raising at community level in sensitizing youth and adult on the need to for voluntary HIV testing, addressing stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS. Participants at the meeting think that response to AIDS is an important area to be included into districts Performance contracts –Imihigo said one of the Vice Mayor in charge of social affairs.
UNAIDS targets to have 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% diagnosed with HIV infection to receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, 90% receiving antiretroviral therapy to have viral suppression by 2020.
Participants plan to develop an action plan to implement an awareness campaign of community mobilization to advance the Fast – track agenda for controlling AIDS epidemic in the City of Kigali.