David Mabuza to reaffirm African unity in Aids conference address

05 December 2021 - 15:52
Deputy President David Mabuza. File photo.
Deputy President David Mabuza. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Deputy President David Mabuza is expected to reaffirm SA’s commitment to greater unity of the African continent at the 21st International Conference on Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA). 

Mabuza, in his capacity as the chairperson of the SA National Aids Council (Sanac), will deliver the opening address at the conference in Durban on Monday.

ICASA is Africa’s biggest Aids conference that brings together scientists, government leaders, policymakers, activists and people living with HIV from across Africa.

The conference is aimed at strengthening health systems to integrate high-impact interventions on comorbidities, emerging infections and non-communicable diseases, among other conditions.   

In his address, Mabuza is expected to reaffirm SA’s commitment to greater unity of the African continent and support for the Common African Position developed under the AU.

A UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) report on Monday — World Aids Day — found that one child was infected with HIV every two minutes.

About 300,000 children were infected with HIV in 2020. In addition to those infected, another 120,000 children — a child every five minutes — died from Aids-related causes last year.

Unicef warned that a prolonged Covid-19 pandemic was deepening the inequalities that had driven the HIV epidemic, putting vulnerable children, adolescents, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers at increased risk of missing life-saving HIV prevention and treatment services.

“The HIV epidemic enters its fifth decade amid a global pandemic that has overloaded healthcare systems and constrained access to life-saving services. Meanwhile, rising poverty, mental health issues and abuse are increasing children and women’s risk of infection,” said Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore.

The ICASA conference will be hosted at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from December 6-11 under the theme “Africa’s Aids Response: The Race to 2030 — Evidence. Scale Up. Accelerate.”

The conference will be held in a hybrid format in line with Covid-19 safety protocols.

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