‘Time Africa solved its own problems’

John Mangwiro

HEALTH and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro has urged African countries to resolve their own problems, particularly tackling HIV/Aids and other diseases.

Mangwiro made the remarks at the first International Conference on Aids and Sexually Transmitted Illnesses in Africa (Icasa) 2023 international steering committee meeting held in Victoria Falls yesterday.

Zimbabwe will host the global Icasa gathering from December 4 to 9, 2023, after shrugging off challenges from Kenya and Uganda. 

“Nothing for us without us! We are the continent greatly affected by diseases; Southern African carries the burden of HIV/Aids,” Mangwiro said.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic affected all of us, South Africa was hard hit. We still talk of Ebola. Currently, we have been talking of monkeypox. If given the opportunity, as Africans we have some of the solutions to these problems. Thus, the scientific, leadership and community programme committees should help us come up with solutions to some of these challenges.”

He said the conference, which was expected to draw 12 000 delegates from across the globe, had the blessing of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles up as the Health and Child Care minister.

“The people of Zimbabwe as a whole are excited and are eagerly waiting for you.  Our great pride is our people who are hospitable and ready to serve and offer you a great experience during the preparatory, the conference time and the post-conference period,” Mangwiro said.

Society for Aids in Africa (SAA) president David Parirenyatwa said: “The first international steering committee was part of a number of engagements that stakeholders in HIV programming would undertake anchored on three programmes -— scientific, leadership and community.”

SAA secretary-general Aliou Sylla said Icasa would advocate for the eradication of Aids by 2030, including challenging governments to provide universal health to all.

A recent UNAids report titled In Danger showed that new HIV infections in Southern Africa dropped by only 3,6% between 2020 and 2021, the smallest annual decline since 2016.

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