DAKAR - The First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, participated in the 15th Edition of the International Conference on AIDS and sexually transmissible diseases in Africa (ICASA) which took place in Dakar, Senegal on Thursday, December 4, 2008.
The overall theme of the ICASA was “Africa’s Response: Facing the Facts.”
During this year’s ICASA, international and African HIV experts evaluated current state of the HIV epidemic and sexually transmitted infections with regard to Science, Community and Leadership.
ICASA 2008 recognized the contributions, successes and ambitions of each stakeholder as well as acknowledged the weaknesses and shortfalls of the different initiatives responding to HIV in Africa.
During the plenary session, Mrs. Kagame gave her remarks under the topic: “Which leadership does Africa need to reach universal access?”
She emphasized the need for African leaders in different sectors to be more engaged in order to reinforce prevention and treatment programs in the HIV/AIDS domain.
The First Lady appealed for the creation of an enabling environment where these different sectors could work in synergy, keeping in mind the efficient and effective use of available resources.
Mrs. Kagame used the analogy of the current global financial crisis, whereby countries in Europe united to address the economic situation, and how the G8 and G20 were instrumental in identifying solutions to the crisis.
Likewise, she called for a Global Forum of the same force as the G8 and G20, to work towards controlling the HIV/AIDS pandemic given its catastrophic impact on the African continent.
She added that the need for stronger solidarity is great if we are to achieve the 6th Millennium Development Goal of universal universal access to treatment for HIV/AIDS for all those who need it by 2010.
During the Conference, there was also a session of African First Ladies to share their experiences of the HIV response through regional organizations such as the Organization of African First Ladies against AIDS (OAFLA) and Synergies Africaines, as well as in their own countries through national organizations.