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‘Be ready to tackle future pandemics’

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BY NIZBERT MOYO

ZIMBABWE has been urged to prioritise health financing in order to deal with future pandemics, including HIV and Aids as the world is currently threatened by a number of pandemics.

This was said by United Nations Aids (UNAids) country director Sophia Mukasa last week during the signing ceremony of the Paris Declaration of Fast Cities with the City of Bulawayo.

Mukasa said the country should also invest in community-led human rights-based and gender transformative responses to HIV in its quest to join the global community in ending Aids by the year 2030.

She said new HIV infections were being driven by inequality and poverty, hence the need for strong people-centred health services to end HIV, and approaches to flatten the COVID-19 curve in the country.

“The world is threatened by an expanding list of pandemics, as we enter a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also enter the fifth decade of the Aids pandemic.

“As the global Aids strategy 2021-2026 sets out to end Aids, we have to end inequalities which perpetuate it,” Mukasa said.

“The same laws, policies and strong people-centred health services are needed to end Aids.

“This will also help the world to overcome COVID-19 and be ready to tackle future pandemics and support inclusive economic growth, as well as fulfil human rights for all,’’ she said.

Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni said the signing of the initiative was a reminder that HIV/Aids was still prevalent in the country.

“The signing of the Paris declaration is an opportunity to remind ourselves that HIV is still in our midst and that we must be responsive by strengthening our HIV programmes and ensure that we reach all populations at risk,’’ Mguni said.

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