NEW YORK - The First Lady, Mrs Jeannette Kagame, joined 30 other First spouses from across the world, at the United Nations, to mobilise support, and to recommit themselves to the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS (EMCT) by 2015.
The meeting is one of several events taking place in conjunction with the three-day High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly, that brings together Heads of State and Government, representatives of international organisations, civil society and people living with HIV, to chart the future course of the global AIDS response.
According to UNAIDS, around 1,000 babies are infected with HIV each day, 90 percent of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV is also the leading cause of maternal mortality in developing countries.
The First Ladies meeting was held on the opening day of the UN High-Level Meeting on AIDS and was co-hosted by Mrs. Ban-Ki Moon, Mr. Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, and Azeb Mesfin, First Lady of Ethiopia and President of the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS.
Sidibe stated that “When women and girls protect themselves from HIV, they protect a whole new generation from HIV.”
“The fact that, in still too many places, HIV-positive women are denied the right to give birth to healthy babies, is a global injustice that we can end by 2015,” said Ban Soon-Taek, the wife of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In her message, Mrs Kagame highlighted that Rwanda has achieved key milestones in the fight against HIV/AIDS over the last nine years. She thanked all the partners committed to fighting HIV/AIDS. She noted that Rwanda has integrated all healthcare services, and has significantly improved access to services through decentralisation. The government has made HIV/AIDS part and parcel of its poverty reduction program and Vision 2020. Rwanda is on the right track and is hopeful about achieving its targets.
Mrs. Kagame launched Rwanda’s national initiative for the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS (EMTCT) in May 2011. Following the launch, various activities were carried out at national level to raise awareness and encourage the public to fully participate in the EMTCT Campaign.
An ‘EMTCT Day’ was held at all health centres offering Prevention of Mother to Child transmission services with the aim of sensitising community health workers on the importance of bringing to an end mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS.