The City of Kigali (CoK) has recommitted to the fight against HIV/AIDS by signing of the Paris Declaration on ending the epidemic in cities and urban areas, a year after the global strategy was adopted.
The signing took place at the Kigali City Hall on Thursday, where Fidel Ndayisaba, the City mayor, signed the document.
The Declaration, reached in France in December, 2014, outlines seven commitments that city mayors undertook in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
These include; ending the disease in cities by 2030; putting people at the centre of all interventions; addressing the causes of the risk, vulnerability and transmission; using AIDS response for positive social transformation; building and accelerating an appropriate response to local needs through promoting services that are innovative and free from stigma and discrimination; mobilising resources for integrated public health; and development and promoting unity among leaders.
Ndayisaba said the City of Kigali will remain at the forefront of fighting HIV/Aids in the country and promised to work closely with the Ministry of Health in this regard.
“Kigali will keep the fight against HIV as a key priority. We are confident we will make it. We commit to join our colleagues from the Ministry of Health and other cities in this fight,” he said.
Dr Muhayimpundu Ribakare, the acting division manager of HIV division at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, appreciated the initiative and expressed optimism that it will soon yield fruit.
“We appreciate the initiative and congratulate the City of Kigali upon signing the declaration,” she said.
According to Michel Sidibe, the executive secretary for UNAIDS, the signing of the declaration will help in the quest to raise a new generation of HIV-negative children and to create a window of opportunity to completely wipe out the virus.
More than 145 cities across the world have already signed the document.
HIV prevalence rate in the City of Kigali is estimated to be at 7.3 per cent, higher than the national average of 3 per cent.
The fast track cities initiative says there is need to ensure that, by 2020, at least 90 per cent of people living with HIV would be know their status, 90 per cent who should be knowing their HIV positive status should be on treatment, while 90 per cent of those on treatment should have their viral load suppressed.
Figures from the Rwanda Biomedical Centre indicate that 86 per cent of Rwandans have undertook an HIV test, 82 per cent of those living with the virus are on antiretroviral therapy, with 76 per cent of these ones obtaining viral load suppression.