President Ramkalawan backs new global pledge to fight HIV/Aids |11 June 2021
President Wavel Ramkalawan has affirmed the country’s unwavering commitment to the United Nation’s new political declaration agreed to by member states on Tuesday and which sets outs out new targets for ending HIV and Aids as a public health threat.
The new global pledge, made at the UN General Assembly high-level meeting on HIV and Aids held between June 8-10, commits UN member states to step up their fight against HIV, end all inequalities faced by communities and people affected by HIV and Aids.
World leaders, including President Ramkalawan, have agreed to reduce the annual number of new HIV infections to under 370,000 and Aids-related deaths to 250,000, eliminate new HIV infections among children, end paediatric Aids and eliminate all forms of HIV-related discrimination by 2025.
They also committed to providing life-saving HIV treatment to 34 million people by 2025.
In his address at the UN General Assembly, President Ramkalawan remarked that Seychelles welcomes this new political declaration on HIV and Aids since all of the declaration’s calls to action align with Seychelles’ vision, strategy and beliefs.
“We believe firmly in universal health coverage and integration. We believe in the power of data, science and innovation to bring us further forward. We believe in gender equality and empowerment of women as the best vehicle for nation building and progress. We believe in strengthening all our national structures and processes to eliminate the vestiges of stigma and discrimination that persist towards people infected with HIV,” stated President Ramkalawan.
The president highlighted the importance of global collaboration in helping tackle and to bring an end to Aids. Towards this endeavour, President Ramkalawan called on every party involved to make available resources and also appealed to the UN to provide technical support in the final leg of the race to end Aids.
Closer to home, President Ramkalawan made note of Seychelles’ achievements and efforts in regards to tackling HIV and Aids, even in the midst of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
“Seychelles has striven extremely hard, with fortitude and resolve, to honour its global, regional and national commitments, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UNAids Strategy to end Aids, the WHO Health Sector Strategy on HIV and our own assurances and pledges to our people,” stated President Ramkalawan.
“I do not deny, nonetheless, that there is still a lot more for us to do. Today, I make further pledges on behalf of my country. We will continue to address the remaining legal and policy barriers. We will continue to meet the required financial commitments, providing resources and making investments where needed. We will continue to foster greater community empowerment. Above all else, we will continue to strengthen respect of human rights and ensure that HIV and Aids services remain comprehensive and responsive to the needs of the people they serve and that access to such services remain free and unfettered in all state institutions,” he continued.
“This Covid-19 pandemic has shown the world just how fragile health gains are. Health gains secured after many years of hard work can erode quickly when availability of services, access to them and their continuity are at risk. Loss of livelihoods from Covid-19 negatively influences behaviour of survivors and the way people engage in HIV care.”
“Amid challenges, countries and leaders must rise to the occasion. We must find opportunities and inspire hope. We must innovate. Solutions do exist for both persisting and new challenges. We need to find them where they are and, here we are, finding them together.”
Compiled by Elsie Pointe