AIDS networks and civil societies around the world has put weight behind the UNAids for successfully organising consultations among women’s rights advocates to prioritise more than 15 million people without treatment and some 5 000 new infections per day.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Women rights leaders from around the globe who are convening in Geneva, Switzerland at the invitation of UNAids executive director Michael Sidibe have come up with a road map to help the UNAids to become a model agency with respect to women’s rights those living with the virus.
Dorothy Onyango, a participant on behalf of Woman Fighting AIDS from Kenya, congratulated the UNAids for removing the focus on individuals and to prioritise 15 million people living with the disease and without treatment.
“We are immensely grateful to the ATHENA network for co-organising with UNAids that brought together stakeholders with varied views and approaches to matters that concern the right of people living with the disease,” Onyango said.
“It is a great step ahead to remove the focus from individuals and prioritise more than 15 million people without treatment and some 5 000 new HIV infections per day.”
Tendai Westerhof who is a participant on behalf of Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition-Zimbabwe also expressed joy at UNAids contributions to the global efforts for access to treatment which make the standard and quality of generic drugs high and cheaper.
“UNAids contributes to the global efforts for access to treatment by negotiating with pharmaceutical companies and supporting countries which policies allow all countries to use compulsory licensing and procurement of cheaper quality generic drugs,” Westerhof said.
Some of the organisations attending the meeting include International Community of Women Living with HIV West and Central Africa represented by Assumpta Reginald, MAMA’S Club Uganda represented by Lydia Mugherera, ICW North Africa represented by Souhalia Bensaid and Women Fighting Aids Tanzania represented by Mpendwa Abinery Chiwinda among others.
In a presentation to the UNAids Programme Co-ordinating Board in Switzerland yesterday the civil society organisations addressed sexual harassment at the UNAids secretariat and across the United Nations.
They also addressed gender parity across UNAids and including in leadership roles.
The UNAids executive Sidibe’s support came after some Western countries tried to force him out accusing him of sexual harassment, but the group of African Ambassadors in Geneva on May 17 this year supported Sidibe’s leadership saying he mobilised political commitment at the highest level towards a common ambition to end Aids by 2030.