PRESS RELEASE

 

Champions and Private Sector Dialogue- Call for increased Private Sector support to the national AIDS response towards ending AIDS by 2030.

 

Johannesburg, November 26, 2015 — A commitment for solidarity and unison was made between the Champions and the private sector today at a meeting held at the Hyatt. The two entities have vowed to work in solidarity to deal a “final blow” to AIDS” by the year 2030.

In his opening remarks Former President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe set the tone of encouragement by highlighting that all that we use, all that we buy, it is because of private sector. He encouraged the private sector the harness the same skills the use to reach people when they promote; music, sport, drama, products; to take those skills and now use them to leverage the struggle.

The private sector identified production of antiretroviral drugs as a potential low hanging fruit for the role they could play in their shared responsibility. While this may be a low hanging fruit, the private sector still voiced the sizable amount of funding that would need to go into such a project. The current heavy reliance on foreign funding is a critical encumbrance that needs to be overcome. 

Following this assertion of need for foreign funding H.E. Speciosa Wandira encouraged private sector to lobby local entities to stand up and help themselves. She said that Africa had enough resources to self sustainably fund its health priorities.

H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo echoed the same sentiments saying that indeed Africa did have sufficient funds. He posed thatif each person “paid an extra dollar per night for ever hotel night wherever they stayed, how much would that raise”. President Obasanjo said if these funds could be used towards eradicating AIDS 2030, we would get somewhere.

 

Champions for an AIDS Free Generation, was first launched in 2008 by His Excellency Festus Mogae, the Former President of the Republic of Botswana. The Champions programme works to ensure that all children are born free from HIV in Africa and that all people have access to quality HIV prevention and treatment services. 

 

The Championsare:

  • Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana and Chairman of the Champions
  • Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi
  • Edwin Cameron, South Africa Supreme Court of Appeal Judge
  • Joaquim A. Chissano, former President of Mozambique
  • Kenneth D. Kaunda, former President of Zambia
  • Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of Mali
  • Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania
  • Kgalema Motlanthe, former Deputy President of South Africa
  • Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria
  • Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Speciosa Wandira-Kasibwe, former Vice President of Uganda
  • Miriam Were, former Chairperson of the Kenya National AIDS Control Council
  • Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President of Namibia

 

Contact

Champions Secretariat Gaborone | Makhamokha Mohale | +267 77445592 or +267 74166804; | mohalem@unaids.org

 

Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation

The Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation is a distinguished group of former presidents and influential African leaders committed to an AIDS-free generation. Individually and collectively, the Champions rally and support regional leaders towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat. The Champions transcend political partisanship to speak freely and independently about the issues that need solutions, both publically and behind the scenes. www.aidsfreechampions.org

 

 

 

Press Statement by Her Excellency Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe, member of Champions for an AIDS Free Generation in Africa and Former Vice President of Uganda

On the occasion of Champions visit to Sierra Leone

November 29th to December 3rd, 2015

1.    We, the Champions for an AIDS Free Generation, visited Sierra Leone from December 29th to 3rd 2015, on a mission to share experiences and encourage leadership to renew and revitalize the response to the HIV epidemic.

 

2.    Honourable Minister of Health, members of the fourth estate, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you very warm greetings from the Champions for an AIDS Free Generation in Africa. We came to Sierra Leone to join you in commemorating World AIDS Day and to exchange views with national leadership, civil society leaders and partners on what can be done to arrest the spread of HIV and AIDS. We came to reach out to our peers and to find solutions together.

 

3.    From the recent success made in the Ebola response, we now know that ending AIDS in Sierra Leone is possible. The Champions are particularly happy that the Government has set bold and ambitious targets towards that direction.

 

4.    The Champions continue to be inspired and encouraged by the commitment and dedication to eliminating AIDS, as shown by our leaders and the people of Sierra Leone. We have followed the developments of the Ebola epidemic in Western Africa and marvelled at how the countries that bore the largest burden of the EVD outbreak finally eliminated it. Allow me, Honourable minister, to commend the leadership and people of Sierra Leone for their resilience and efforts in ending Ebola, and to convey our empathy to the nation for the loss of so many friends and family to this deadly disease.

 

5.    Honourable minister, media, ladies and gentlemen, I come from a country that had a prevalence of 1.5% twenty five years ago. Our complacency and attention to multiple priorities to rebuild Uganda gave space for surprise. The HIV epidemic blossomed, and our bed occupancy with AIDS patients tripled; the country was overwhelmed. Our development agenda was impeded.

 

6.    Today in Sierra Leone, our HIV incidence is seemingly very low compared to those of Eastern and Southern African countries. This can very easily result in complacency to act with less urgency, boldness and vigour. Based on the Ugandan experience, I will enjoin you all to be vigilant and act with even more determination than was invested in the Ebola response in order to avoid a similar surprise.

 

7.    We must act now with urgency and sustained effort, while the window of opportunity is still available. We must act decisively before the epidemic spiral out of our control. We must fast track our efforts, be innovative in our delivery, and be targeted in our approach to areas and populations with the greatest need and vulnerability in order to provide the lifesaving treatment, care and support that they deserve.

 

8.    I joined and interacted with you in Kenema during the World AIDS Day commemorations. I have visited service delivery points, I have met with Ministers and community leaders, I have listened to challenges faced by young people, people living with HIV, and key populations. Most importantly, I had an opportunity to interact with the His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma. Sierra Leone has done well in many areas of the HIV response, however there is so much more we can do in service coverage, scaling up programmes, and in providing quality and targeting of services.

 

9.    It gives us, Champions, great assurance that His Excellency the President is leading the AIDS response and that he is not alone in this fight. We stand in awe as we commend His Excellency the President for government’s allocation of 1.2 billion to the national AIDS response, announced during the World AIDS Day ceremony in Kenema. His Excellency further committed to free HIV and AIDS services for all, especially for children, pregnant women, and key populations.

 

10. By being here, the Champions are reaching out in support to you and the leadership at all levels, including our development partners and the private sector, to join hands in achieving the set targets. We, the Champions, commit to stand by the people of Sierra Leone and to support this country to become a success story in achieving 100% coverage of all HIV services, eliminate new infections in children and vulnerable populations, and achieve zero HIV related discrimination by 2020. We hope to return at a later stage to follow up on the commitments made during this visit and provide more support and advocacy.

 

11. We take this opportunity to express our gratitude for the warm welcome we received in Sierra Leone. As the first West African country visited by the Champions we believe Sierra Leone will pioneer the end of AIDS in the region.

 

12. On behalf of all the Champions for an AIDS Free Generation, I thank you.

 

H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa- Former President Of the United Republic of Tanzania speaks to the youth about HIV prevention, October, 2015.

Justice Edwin Cameron- South Africa Supreme Court of Appeal Judge speaks out against stigma ad discrimination of the LGBTI community


Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation meet with South African President Jacob Zuma to discuss the future of the AIDS response 

South Africa pledges full support to the Champions 

PRETORIA, 14 April 2015—The Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation met with the South African President, Jacob Zuma, to discuss strengthening partnerships across politics and the private sector in order to step up the response to the AIDS epidemic in South Africa and across continent...

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Champions come together to announce strengthened efforts for an AIDS-free generation in Africa  

JOHANNESBURG, 13 April 2015The Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation gathered together today to announce new efforts to ensure that all children in Africa are born free from HIV and that children living with HIV have access to life-saving treatment. Since young people continue to be deeply affected by the epidemic, the Champions also announced that they will add adolescents and HIV to their portfolio of work.  

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JOHANNESBURG, 15 April 2015

The Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa concluded their-three day high-level meeting in Johannesburg with the signing of The Declaration of the Champions.

The Declaration warns against complacency and calls for renewed urgency in response to AIDS.

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The Champions for an AIDS- Free Generation are a distinguished group of former presidents and influential African leaders committed to an AIDS-free generation. Individually and collectively the Champions rally and support regional leaders towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat. The Champions transcend political partisanship to speak freely and independently about the issues that need solutions, both publically and behind the scenes.

Our Vision
Our vision is an AIDS-free generation in Africa.

Our Mission
Our mission is to rally and support regional leaders  towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.


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