Public health and women’s empowerment and the family Ministers call for the eradication of AIDS among children, youths and young women. Both Minister were speaking this November 30,2016 in Yaounde as part of the Start free, stay free, AIDS free campaign launched by UNAIDS.
The joint press conference granted by Andre Mama Fouda, Public health Minister and his counterpart of women’s empowerment and the family, Marie Therese Ondoua Obama this November 30,2016 in Yaounde, is part of the Start free, stay free, AIDS free campaign of UNAIDS. It equally enters within the frame work of the first ever held edition of the Cameroon month for the fight against AIDS, launched last November 8 by the National AIDS control committee under the theme : « knowing my status, a challenge to my health ».
In his introductory address, Minister Mama Fouda explained the importance of the ongoing campaigns at the time Cameroon is hosting the 2016 African female cup of nations.
He said : « the Cameroon government and its partners thought it necessary to exploit the potentials of sports and especially that of football to mobilize and commit the populations, the communities and actors of the women’s african cup of nations to carry out activities aimed at eliminating HIV in children, adolescents and young women. It is in this context that the National AIDS control committee, UNAIDS in collaboration with the African football confederation launched the start free, stay free, AIDS free campaign whose objective is to eliminate AIDS in children, adolescents and young women in 2020 ».
On her part, Minister Ondoua Obama focused on the fight against AIDS in women in general and young ladies in particular. She praised the efforts made so the far as concerns the fight against HIV/AIDS for the past thirty years. She said today a great number of people infected have free access to treatment, the number of deaths have reduced, few new born babies are infected and the number of new HIV infections has reduced. These results according to Marie Therese Ondoua Obama show that Cameroon is on the fast track of ending new HIV infections in children and keeping their mothers save and alive. She however laid emphasis on the fact that adolescents and young women are vulnerable to HIV. The number of new HIV infection cases are observed in adolescents aged from 15 to 24 years. « preventing new infections in children starts by the prevention of new infections in young women ». She said.
To inverse the tendancy, the Minister of women’s empowerment and the family said young women have to be implicated judicially in the elaboration of politics and programmes as well as having an access to complete education on sexuality, sexual and reproductive health services. She equally called on young men and men to play a key role in defending gender equality and the prevention of gender violences.
Dr Claire Mulanga, Country Director of UNAIDS in her key note, said UNAIDS is determined to pursue its fight in the eradication of HIV/AIDS. She outlined the relevance of the ongoing Start free,stay free, AIDS free campaign that preceds the Celedration of World AIDS day come December 1.
The start free, stay free,Aids free campaign launched worlwide by UNAIDS in collaboration with PEPFAR aimed at galvanizing global momentum around a shared and ambitious agenda to build on the progress achieved under the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive. According to UNAIDS, the Globl Plan resulted in remarkable progress, reducing new HIV infections among children by 60% in 21 of the most affected countries in sub-Sahara Africa. In 2015, 150 000(110 000-190 000) children became newly infected with HIV globally, 110 000(78 000-150 000) of whom lived in the 21 Global Plan priority countries. Critical gaps remain in responding to HIV and progress has lagged behind for adolescents and young women as outlined by UNAIDS in its report.
By Elise Kenimbeni