First Lady Jeannette Kagame has said that with global cooperation and goodwill, the fight against HIV/AIDS can be won, once and for all.
Mrs Kagame said this Tuesday while addressing the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) resource mobilization event themed “Free to Shine: Global partnership towards eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Africa”.
The event was held in the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York.
In Rwanda, the Free to Shine campaign was launched at national level, on 10 September, and will be carried out across the country until 1 December, with an aim to increase awareness and accountability to end AIDS in children, and reinforce partnerships and advocacy to mobilise the needed resources to eliminate Mother to Child HIV Transmission.
The First Lady noted that the Free to Shine campaign should be an opportunity to reflect on the impact of our HIV response to-date, while raising the bar higher to remove remaining barriers to thriving lives in all communities.
“In Rwanda, our desire to fight the AIDS epidemic drove us to call on all stakeholders to come to the table so that, together, we could pull all our resources to fund initiatives aimed at ending AIDS by 2030,” she explained.
Her Excellency attributed Rwanda’s success in HIV response effectiveness to concerted efforts and active community involvement, siting the reduction of HIV prevalence rates from about 10% in the early 2000’s, to below 3% nationwide today.
With this, First Lady Mrs Kagame called on her fellow OAFLA members and partners working in the sector to continue devising ways to maintain and improve existing interventions.
“I, call on you here today, to join this noble cause by committing or recommitting yourselves to invest in human capital and the building of foolproof systems as the surest way to reach our goals and sustain them.”
Mrs Kagame also recognised and affirmed her support for efforts across Africa, following powerful testimonies from a Zimbabwean HIV positive mother, that highlighted the need for more investment in issues, such as literacy for parents, and therefore bringing up a clear vision of remaining gaps, especially related to new mothers and their children.
Following this event, First Lady Mrs Kagame joined a luncheon discussion on the key role of public-private partnership, organised by Gilead Sciences and the Business Council for International Understanding, as well as a reception hosted by Ms Grégoire Trudeau, spouse to Canadian Prime Minister.
The reception hosted spouses of head of delegations attending this year’s United Nations General Assembly.