UNAIDS' Sidibe meets with First Lady

04 Nov 2014 11:20am
WINDHOEK, 04 NOV (NAMPA) – A Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) delegation headed by the programme’s Executive Director Michel Sidibe on Monday paid a courtesy call on First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba.
The delegation comprised Sidibe, who is also Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN); the Executive Director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Mark Dybul; and UNAIDS’ Regional Director Sheila Tlou.
In his remarks before their closed-door meeting with Pohamba, Sidibe praised the First Lady, saying she had helped his organisation during her term of office to not only move the agenda of First Ladies on the continent, but to also make them understand that they should not just stick to HIV/AIDS issues.
He indicated that Pohamba played a role in helping African First Ladies see the link between HIV and maternal health, child health, tuberculosis (TB)-related diseases as well as reproductive health.
“We are here to say we are proud of you because the results we have seen here in Namibia make us all happy,” he stated.
In her remarks, the First Lady thanked Sidibe and his staff in the Namibian office for the financial and technical support she received from UNAIDS throughout her tenure of office.
“It is assistance from donors like you which provided me and my team with the support needed to implement activities, and continue with my mission,” she said.
Pohamba noted that financial contributions from UNAIDS over the years demonstrated the programme’s commitment to the work of the office of the First Lady, which is interlinked with the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA); maternal and child health; and the Organisation of the Empowerment of Widows/Widowers and Orphans of HIV/AIDS in Namibia (OEWONA).
“All these achievements would not have been reached if it was not for UNAIDS' financial and technical support,” she said.
The First Lady also informed the UNAIDS Executive Director that their support played a key role in the successful hosting of the ‘Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa Conference’ in Windhoek in July this year.
She further informed the delegation that recent reports have showed that as a country, Namibia has reduced HIV infections by 50 per cent.
The number of HIV/AIDS-related deaths have also been reduced by 50 per cent.
Despite all these achievements, she said, the fight against HIV/AIDS is not over yet and still needs to be prioritised and included into the post-2015 agenda.
The post-2015 Development Agenda refers to a process led by the UN which aims to help define the future global development framework which will succeed the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight global development targets which come to an end in 2015.
The delegation earlier had lengthy discussions with representatives of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, and also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hage Geingob.
They arrived here on Monday, and are in the country to discuss ways in which UNAIDS can continue supporting Namibia to build on its success story of universal access to anti-retroviral medication.
(NAMPA)
JN/AS/TK