First Lady calls for concerted efforts in fight against HIV and Aids

The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, has called for concerted efforts in the fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.
L-R: Steve MacDonald, Senior Advisor, Africa Program and Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity at the Wilson Center; First Lady Jeannette Kagame; and Nigerian Finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Washington D.C, yesterday. The New Times/Courtesy.
L-R: Steve MacDonald, Senior Advisor, Africa Program and Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity at the Wilson Center; First Lady Jeannette Kagame; and Nigerian Finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Washington D.C, yesterday. The New Times/Courtesy.

The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, has called for concerted efforts in the fight against HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

She was yesterday delivering a keynote address at a global conference, held under the theme, “Going the Whole Nine Yards”, in Washington DC, United States.

 

The First Lady addressed strategies that have yielded gains to Rwanda in the fight against the three deadly diseases.

 

“Under prevention, we have placed emphasis on prevention of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV/Aids. Our HIV positive pregnant women and their children have access to preventing MTCT services in 85 per cent of our health facilities,” she said.

 

“It costs much less to offer an HIV positive woman a full treatment regimen during pregnancy than to cater for her infected children for the rest of their lives.”

She added that although most of Rwanda’s infrastructure for treating tuberculosis and malaria were destroyed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the government decided to rapidly adopt a framework that valued healthy lives.

“We faced a major burden of multidrug-resistant disease; Rwanda faced the highest child mortality rate in the world for several years after the Genocide. More than one in four children died before their fifth birthday,” Mrs Kagame said

The First Lady added, “After all the fatalities we had incurred, we understood too well the value of every single, precious life. We decided to rapidly adopt and work with an 'everything is a priority' mindset.”

Mrs. Kagame is a board member of Friends of the Global Fund Africa which was created in 2006 to stimulate African governments, the private sector and civil society towards effective methods against HIV/Aids, TB and malaria on the continent.

Other notable speakers at the conference included the Nigerian minister for Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Mark Dybul, the Executive Director of Global Fund.

According to recent statistics from the Ministry of Health, Rwanda is on track to achieving Millennium Development Goals on maternal and child health. 

Malaria incidence declined by 74, between 2005 and 2012, while 89 per cent of tuberculosis patients are successfully treated.

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