The City of Kigali and the Ministry of Health have joined hands to fight against HIV/Aids.
The development was announced during a consultative meeting in Kigali on Tuesday.
Fidele Ndayisaba , the City of Kigali Mayor, noted that the fight against HIV/Aids would only be successful if the city played its role.
“About seven per cent of people living in Kigali are infected with HIV/Aids according to latest statistics from the Ministry of Health. There is need to reduce this prevalence rate but it can only be successful if we are working together with the ministry,” Ndayisaba said. He noted that the partnership will also involve fighting stigma associated with HIV/Aids.
“Many people still fear to open up about their HIV/Aids status for fear of being discriminated, so this drive will seek to check that as well,” Ndayisaba said.
He called on infected people to seek treatment.
Ndayisaba also noted that the partnership will go a long way in preventing new infections.
He noted that there was need to help commercial sex workers find alternative means of survival since studies countrywide indicate that 60 per cent of them are HIV-positive.
Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, the head of HIV division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC), said the drive is part of the five-year $1bn national campaign against HIV/Aids.
He noted that the campaign in Kigali will involve male circumcision, voluntary counselling and testing, as well as mass sensitisation using various media platforms.
“This programme cuts across, it doesn’t target a particular age group, as everybody is a potential victim,” Nsanzimana said.
The rate of new HIV infections countrywide has reduced by about 48 per cent in the last 10 years, according to the ministry.
The new strategic plan is aimed at curbing 75 per cent of new infections in the next five years.
Dr Agnes Binagwaho, the Health minister, noted that Rwanda had made significant strides in the fight against HIV/Aids.
She, however, warned against complacency, arguing that this could roll back the gains.
Albert Turaturanye, a resident of Kanombe, a Kigali suburb, said more awareness about the disease was a welcome move.