Juba, 1 December 2017: With the theme “Right to Health”. ‘Everyone with the Right to Realize the highest attainable standard of Health without Stigma and Discrimination’, the national commemoration of the World Aida Day was officiated by H.E the Vice President, James Wani Igga on 1 December 2017 at Nyakuron Cultural Center in Juba.
To mark the day, national and state commemorative events spanned over the whole week and included HIV testing and counseling at different sites including government facilities, private clinics, community programmes, internally displaced persons (IDP) and Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites. Other activities marking the event included radio talk shows, debates in schools, marathon race led by UNMISS and which culminated into a high level advocacy workshop by parliamentarians. The event was organized to increase awareness about HIV prevention, promote HIV testing, HIV treatment and prevention, ensure zero discrimination as well as provide services and promote universal health coverage aiming at reaching everyone.
The commemoration brought together community members, residents, government officials, civil society, Faith-Based organizations, UN staff and officials, in-school children, youth, celebrities, private sectors, academia and the media, among others participated in the commemorative event across the country.
South Sudan is among the countries in the African region implementing ‘Treat All’ recommendations among adults and adolescents in more than 50% of treatment sites in the country. This is an important step in the fight to end AIDS by 2030.
Approximately 80% of people living with HIV in South Sudan are still unaware of their HIV status. To achieve universal access to HIV treatment and care and ending AIDS as a public health threat, WHO encourages universal access to knowledge of HIV status.
‘No one has to die of AIDS’ said Dr Moses Mogga, a Clinician at Evidence Based private clinic in Juba. To end AIDS we need to educate the mass especially the youth about the free testing and treatment services that are in place, Dr Mogga added.
In commemorating the World AIDS Day 2017, linked to the overall theme “Right to Health”, the World Health Organization (WHO) focuses on achieving universal health coverage (UHC) for all 36.7 million people living with HIV and for those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic.
To ensure universal HIV coverage, it is important not to leave anyone behind including vulnerable populations, key populations including sex workers and people who use drugs, young women, adolescents and displaced populations who continue to face barriers to accessing HIV and other health services said Dr Moses Mutebi Nganda, Medical Officer for HIV/AIDS.
Using a slogan ‘Everybody Counts’, WHO is advocating for access to safe, effective, quality and affordable HIV services, medicines, diagnostics other health commodities for all people who need them. Universal health coverage means that all people receive the health services they need without experiencing financial hardship, including access to the full range of HIV services.
On this World Aids Day, I am also resonating the remarks of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti. In the message, Dr Moeti called on Member States to put the health and human rights of people living with HIV at the center of the response, to ensure that we reach all communities that are being left behind, said Mr Evans Liyosi, WHO Representative a.i. for South Sudan.
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