First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called for concerted efforts to ensure zero infections and deaths due to HIV/Aids.
The First Lady who spoke during the inaugural China-Africa Aids prevention and control advocacy Event in Johannesburg, South Africa said there is an urgent need to get to Zero HIV/Aids related deaths.
“There is an urgent need to get to zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS related deaths and zero Stigma and discrimination,” said the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
The First Lady, who is a Member of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), affirmed her commitment and optimism that the country is getting to zero, and caring for an AIDS-free generation.
Mrs. Kenyatta noted that Kenya’s focus is on HIV and AIDS among adolescents and young people, “because research shows the rate of new infections among this group is on the rise,” she said.
It is for this reason that in September this year, HE the President launched Kenya’s Fast Track Plan to End HIV and AIDS in adolescents and young people, coupled with an anti-stigma and discrimination campaign.
Speaking at the event also graced by South Africa First Lady Mrs Tobeka Madiba Zuma and Ghana First Lady Dr Lordina Dramani Mahama, who is also the President of Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said the meeting was coming at a most opportune time, four days after commemorating the 27th World Aids Day, on 1st of December, 2015.
She said already Kenya has launched The DREAMS initiative which is aimed at reducing new HIV infections among adolescent girls.
“The ultimate goal of this campaign is to develop girls who are Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free and Mentored Safe women (DREAMS),” said First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
The First Lady said she is optimistic that the initiative will contribute to the goals of protecting and empowering young girls for “a better future of our nation.”
She decried the shift by governments and investors of resources needed to combat HIV other critical diseases saying it will be counterproductive since it is shifting the much needed focus on the killer disease.
“In Kenya for instance, we have noted with concern that other non-communicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes are taking root,” she said and added, “The situation unfolding before our eyes is disturbing, which is why I laud our development partners, and in particular the Government of China, for committing to join us in the fight to get to zero.”
She said the three decades of HIV and AIDS response in Kenya is a lesson that a multi-pronged approach to HIV and AIDS while leveraging on efficiency and effectiveness yields results.
“This China – Africa partnership heralds a new frontier from which to continue with this fight,” said the First Lady.