Zim-born officially opens UNAids 2018 Conference

ZIMBABWE born and outgoing International Aids Society (IAS) president Linda Gail Bekker officially opened the UNAids 2018 Conference in Netherlands on Monday with a pledge to end Aids, tuberculosis and other communicable disease by 2030.

FROM DESMOND CHINGARANDE IN AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

Bekker, who is co-chairperson of the event, told delegates that new targets have been set to prevent the growing threat of the scourge.

“Our agenda for sustainable development envisages a world free from poverty, hunger, disease where all lives can thrive. By 2030 our health targets are to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio and to end the epidemic of Aids, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected communicable diseases,” Bekker said.

She further said the society boosted the participation of youth in the fight against the scourge by increasing scholarships which will help by providing mechanisms for early warning, reduction of risk and management of national and global health risks.

Dutch foreign minister Sigrid Kaag thanked her government for allowing the country to host the important international event for the second time after the launch in 1992.

“Netherlands is always committed and supported the inclusion of diverse and marginalised society in this fight against the scourge. The global situation is our genuine concern with more than 917 000 deaths recorded last year,” Kaag said.

“We have more than 38 million people living with the HIV and 22 million are on anti-retroviral treatment while 15 million are not on treatment, some of them are afraid to seek treatment but we need to empower and support them.”

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