The UNAIDS Director, Michel Sidibe has said countries should be given the freedom to lead and define their own strategy in addressing HIV/AIDS. He made the comment when addressing a session on ”Leadership for Change: Global plan towards the elimination of HIV/AIDS infections by 2015 and keeping mothers alive”.
Michel was saddened by the fact that countries such as Angola, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo are not making much progress in addressing the menace. He said these countries when managed well in achieving zero infection and zero deaths, would eventually lead to Africa making great strides in fighting HIV/AIDS. According to him, globally countries should increase their funds which is being channeled into dealing with the disease.
A representative from PEPFAR, Deborah Von Zinkekemagel said PEPFAR will continue to contribute drugs and professionals to help reduce the social and economic aspect of the menace. She admitted that though a number of countries are doing ok in the HIV/AIDS struggle, much more is expected of them .
An HIV/AIDS activist Annie Lennox expressed great disgust with many people attaching discrimination to HIV/AIDS. According to her, disparities in gender and color are huge challenges that hinder the progress being made to eradicate HIV/AIDS. She called for leaders on the continent to make policies that will speak up for the marginalized in society.
A mother living with HIV/AIDS, Carl Nyirenda said communities should be involved in the HIV/FIGHT. According to her, issues taken at the level of government normally does not trickle down to the communities, which are the most affected by issues such as HIV/AIDS. She called for a bigger domestic fund by countries for HIV/AIDS issues.
Though Chad was urged to do more in its measures and strategies concerning the fight against HIV/AIDS, Namibia was hailed as a success story in the fight against HIV/AIDS on the continent. Namibia’s measures such as having a good institutional environment in fighting AIDS as well as having clear strategies was commended.