Health minister’s message on the occasion of World Aids Day 2021 |02 December 2021
‘Let’s commit ourselves to overcoming the pandemics’
“Wednesday December 1, 2021 is World Aids Day. It is a time for reflection: on what we have achieved with regard to the national and global response to HIV, and what we still must achieve.
“The global theme chosen for this year’s campaign is ‘End inequalities. End Aids. End pandemics’.
“This is a call for action to all countries to end the economic, social, cultural and legal inequalities that drive Aids and other pandemics around the world.
“We can STILL end Aids by 2030, but only if we act courageously and together tackle inequalities which pose barriers to knowledge, services and treatment.
“On this World Aids day, I would like to draw the attention of our citizens to the long-standing inequalities that mask the reality of our HIV response.
“Unfortunately, pervasive stigma and discrimination still exists towards key affected persons and populations. Stigma and discrimination create barriers to the full participation of these individuals to society, including access to healthcare services.
“We need policies which facilitate access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, policies which are fair and respect human rights of everyone irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Disregard for human rights has in many instances contributed to challenges of ending inequalities in Aids.
“My ministry is working in collaboration with all stakeholders to address these challenges that are holding back progress to end Aids. The Covid-19 pandemic has added to the challenges of our HIV/Aids response as is evidenced by the unfavourable statistics for 2021. The lack of information on the effect of Covid-19 on the HIV response, has aggravated the situation which may have contributed to further transmission and ineffectual community response.
“As we fight the double pandemic we need special efforts directed towards maintaining essential HIV prevention and treatment services that the Covid-19 pandemic and response have weakened.
“I am calling on all our stakeholders to use this opportunity to play a central role in protecting our vulnerable population from exposure and transmission, and to join in the fight to end inequalities and Aids.
“We need to be committed and remain resilient in our journey towards ending inequalities, Aids and pandemics.
“I also wish to express my sincere gratitude to all our health workers and partners for your extra support and for showing remarkable resilience under these extraordinary circumstances.
“We encourage our citizens to continue getting vaccinated against Covid-19, and follow the prevention protocols that include mask wearing, sanitisation, routine washing of the hands, and physical/social distancing. This is to reduce transmission of Covid-19 thus protecting the vulnerable from getting infected.
“If we are going to overcome the pandemics, we have to rise to the occasion and work collectively with the highest commitment.”
Minister for Health