HIV/Aids interventions paying off, they should be scaled up

Fighting the spread of the HIH/Aids scourge has been one of the country’s major priorities. About a quarter of a century ago, the epidemic had reached such proportions in the region that a town in a neighbouring country was completely wiped out.

Many charlatans cropped up, taking advantage of the fear the new killer disease was spreading, claiming they had a cure. Witchdoctors attributed it to sorcery with promises to cast out the bad spell. In the meantime, graveyards were filling up at an alarming rate.

For more than a decade the prevalence rate in Rwanda has stabilized at 3 percent as all weapons were deployed by the government to fight the new killer. The government has adopted new medical advances, but most importantly, took it upon itself to make sure antiretroviral drugs were freely available.

Prevention and treatment have been at the forefront of keeping numbers of new infections down, in some few cases even, zero new infections.

During the launch of the “Free to Shine Rwanda” campaign spearheaded by Imbuto Foundation, it was revealed that two districts; Karongi in Western Province and Burera in the north had registered zero mother to child transmission for the last five years.

“Free to Shine” is an initiative of Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS, OAFLA which aims to end Mother to child Transmission of HIV at birth

What is obvious is that all the interventions – once implemented with goodwill and determination- can reverse the HIV/Aids threat on our continent. It is that kind of commitment that will make the ambitious dream of having zero new infections by 2020 and its complete eradication by 2030 come true.