This year World Aids Day was launched on December 1, 2017 in the beautiful port of Massawa at Cinema Aida with the theme entitled: “Right To Health”. Everyone with the Right to realize the highest attainment standard of Health without Stigma and Discrimination’.
Dr. Andebrhan Tesfatsion, DG of public health gave a speech on behalf of H.E Minister Amina Nurhussien and said that placing people at the center of the fight and to close the gap in accessing HIV services for specific groups in the community is the right thing to do. He said that the incidence and death from HIV is decreasing dramatically but we must continue to fight against the transmission by testing every one, to adhere to treatment, avoid discrimination and stigma and leave no one behind.
Dr. Josephine Namboze, WHO Representative for Eritrea congratulated Eritrea for the remarkable success in lowering new infections and deaths from HIV/AIDS and sustaining low. She delivered a speech on behalf of the Regional Director for the African Region, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti by storytelling of 12 years old orphan. She states that there is a significant progress in the African Region in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, but the right to health for all is not being realized.
Young people, especially young women, continue to be at great risk of HIV infection. Children are often missed out, key populations such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and injecting drug users are not being reached, and men are also left behind. Countries in the West and Central African sub-regions still lag behind from the rest of the continent.
WHO and its partners are working with these member states to implement catch-up plans to accelerate HIV treatment.
Under the slogan "Everybody counts / Leave no one behind", WHO will advocate for access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines, including medicines, diagnostics and other health commodities as well as health care services for all people in need, while also ensuring that they are protected against financial risks. At last Dr. Josephine said that WHO will continue to support the country in elimination new HIV infection on adults and newborns. She is confident that Eritrea will achieve the target of 2030 far ahead of time.
Mrs. Senait Tesfamichael, UNAIDS Country Manager delivered a message on behalf of Executive Director that "Right to health" is fundamental Human Right and praised Eritrea for its achievements on lowering the prevalence and AIDS related deaths.
Dr. Araya Berhane, Director of Communicable Disease Control gave very illustrative country profile on HIV status, its achievements and consequences. The achievements are very promising to achieve the targets ahead of time, as the Mather to child transmission is literally around Zero. But he emphasized on the knowledge of means of transmission, self-testing, early stating of ARV and adherence. He said that 90, 90, 90 target must be achieved and committed to work with partners and the community.
The event draws together people all around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate solidarity, to increase awareness about HIV prevention, promote HIV testing, HIV treatment and prevention, ensure zero discrimination ,fight against stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and promote healthy life and hope and education on sexual reproductive health with teenagers as well as provide services and promote universal health coverage aiming at reaching everyone. To mark the day, national and zobas commemorative events had been organized throughout the week, among the activities were dramas, cycling racing, testimony from people living with HIV.
The commemoration brought together community members, residents, government officials, civil society, Minister of Health, H.E Mrs. Amina Nurhussen, Director Generals, Department Directors of the MOH, Faith-Based organizations, UN staff and Representatives, in-school children, youth, private sectors, academia and the media, among others participated in the commemorative event across the country.