Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor
Experts from 45 countries involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS are meeting in Harare ahead of the 22nd edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), which will be hosted by Zimbabwe in December.
The experts are convening to craft a comprehensive programme ahead of the crucial meeting.
ICASA President, Dr David Parirenyatwa said, “This is a preparatory meeting towards the final meeting the big meeting where we are expecting upwards of 10 000 delegates to be coming here. We are looking at the main issue that will be discussed and who are going to be the speakers who are going to be the backup, what are the topics to be discussed and we have divided this particular session into three major areas that we will address, the scientific approach towards fighting HIV and AIDS and TB and Malaria and other infectious diseases.
“Who are the leaders in this… We are looking at the leadership in fighting HIV and AIDS so that we don’t lose momentum and we are also going to look at the community which is the community affected. Who are the key populations… Who are the people who make this whole movement towards the fight against HIV positive… Who are the funders and where is the money coming from… So, we are going to analyse and come up with a way forward and all of this is pointing towards December 2023.”
Standing in for Vice President General Rtd Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro called on African countries to unite and strengthen the continent’s health system.
“This year’s ICASA should guide us on how to end AIDS by 2030. As Africa, we must design our own solutions to end diseases. We must assist each other in strengthening our health systems. United as Africa we stand. A healthy continent is a wealthy continent because we have the natural resources to solve our problems. We have what it takes to lead this continent out of the woods. We need to be confident at stand firm. Because we have the capacity. We need to come together and do what is supposed to be done,” he said.
It is the second time that Zimbabwe is hosting the event after hosting the 2015 conference which set the country on a path of success in fighting HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections.