KIGALI - President Paul Kagame has been invited to the forthcoming United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS to share with the world how Rwanda successfully battled the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Kagame received the invitation from Dr. Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, at Village Urugwiro, yesterday.
Sidibé told reporters, shortly after meeting the Head of State, that UNAIDS values the President’s leadership, input and commitment to fight the killer disease.
“President Kagame’s leadership and vision demonstrate clearly that we can produce results when you have commitment at the higher levels,” Sidibé said.
“Rwanda is a model for us. It has demonstrated that we can achieve universal access, which to us is about social justice, distribution of opportunities and reaching people of all ways.”
Sidibé noted that the country has managed to reach out to most of the people in need of treatment, observing that what is more interesting in this fight against the epidemic, is the level of innovation.
“We are talking about a revolution in prevention, but that will not happen without a revolution in technology; when you hear that Rwanda has set a target of circumcision of 2 million people before 2012, it is certainly one of the major breakthroughs,” he noted.
Dr. Sidibé said that the New York summit, which takes place 30 years after the first case of HIV/AIDS was diagnosed, will be of great importance as world leaders will meet to recommit and reinforce the fight against the scourge.
High on the agenda is the role of leadership in a sustainable fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera, noted that the trends in the fight against HIV/AIDS keep changing, particularly, decline in global funding, yet the price of drugs keeps going up.
He said that Africa needs to find alternative sources of funding, especially through local production.
“The HIV/AIDs virus keeps evolving, against the backdrop of declining funding and increasingly expensive drugs, so one of the major topics of their discussion was the future of Africa in the sustainable fight against the scourge,” Dr. Sezibera said.
The meeting is scheduled to take place in New York from June 8-10.