African Union recognizes Executive Director of UNAIDS for his outstanding achievements in tackling AIDS

Press Statement

ADDIS ABABA/GENEVA, 11 February 2019—The African Union has passed a motion of support for the Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé recognizing that the invaluable work of UNAIDS, under the leadership of Mr Sidibé, has saved many lives and has had a decisive impact on the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

The motion was passed during the 32nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 11 February 2019. It credits Mr Sidibé’s strategic vision and relentless advocacy to ensure that all populations, including the most vulnerable, have access to health services. It also commends him for keeping HIV among the top global health priorities and for his efforts in improving the health of the people of Africa.

“It is a privilege to serve the people of Africa and the world and I have dedicated my forty-year career to ensuring that vulnerable populations everywhere can live with dignity,” said Mr Sidibé. “The strong partnership between the African Union and UNAIDS is one that has been built on shared responsibility and global solidarity. The global support for the AIDS response and people living with HIV has been unprecedented and we must redouble our efforts to end AIDS. I will continue to do my best to ensure no one is left behind.”

African Union members expressed their profound gratitude for his work and commitment and for his contribution to the attainment of the objectives of the African Union, including Agenda 2063.

The African Union said it remains committed to work with UNAIDS and all its partners to mobilize all the energies and necessary resources to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. And “counts on his unflinching commitment and abiding leadership to continue to promote the health and wellbeing of the peoples of the African continent.”

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

View the original posting of Press Statement on UNAIDS

‘Improving Quality of Life for People Living with HIV’

H.E. Festus Mogae speech during World AIDS Day United Kingdom Parliamentary Reception

28 November 2018  | Palace of Westminster |  London, United Kingdom

Honourable Minister for Overseas Development;

Your Excellency President Chissano;

Honourable Members of Parliament;

Your Excellencies;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. HIV and AIDS is still with us. While we do not underestimate the substantial amount of work that has been done and what has been achieved in stabilizing the situation and converting what was a killer disease into a chronic one with which a person can live with, we nevertheless still recognize that there is still a long way to go.

  2. We have more people on Treatment today but still many are waiting. We have less infections but still 1.8 million new infections in 2017 are too many and this can be prevented. We are still dealing with stigma in many parts of the world. Key populations, adolescents, young women and girls still suffer. Yet the world that has the resources, the science and other means to prevent HIV infection and treat AIDS. NO ONE MUST BE LEFT BEHIND!

  3. The bottlenecks to ending AIDS continue to concern us and continue to confirm to us that our job is not yet completed. In 2008, we took the initiative and decided to come together as Former Presidents, together with other influential African leaders and eminent persons under the banner of Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation, with a view to drive further the ideal of ending AIDS.

  4. With almost all of us from Commonwealth countries, we have committed ourselves to rally national and regional leadership to tackle this public health threat - AIDS. We consider ourselves as transcending political partisanship, speaking freely and independently about the issues and blockages to ending AIDS. We contend that national and regional leaders must address the issues relating to HIV and AIDS - both publicly and behind the scenes.

  5. We are encouraged that Africa has made positive progress in a lot of areas in the AIDS response. These include substantial decreases in new HIV infections, improvements in access to life-saving treatment and decreases in the number of deaths.

  6. However, the current pace of Africa’s response to HIV is too slow to keep up with the continent’s fast-expanding young population that needs to be healthy and productive if Africa is to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We believe that there are areas of blockages for progress that need to be addressed urgently if we are to win.  

  7. This year marks 10 years since we established the Champions for an AIDs Free Generation programme. Our aim of attaining an AIDS free generation in our lifetime remains relevant.

  8. Last year – in 2017 – we took stock of our work – reflecting on the milestones as well as the challenges in our work, in our quest towards an AIDS-free generation. It was from that exercise that we decided to sharpen our focus to take on other complex issues that have demonstrably continued to challenge us in ending AIDS. These include expanding access to HIV treatment and care for key populations and LGBTI people and young women and girls. We are committed to ensuring that no one is left behind in ending AIDS.

  9. To this end, we have identified two main areas of focus for our advocacy. The first being increased commitment to domestic investments for HIV and health, global solidarity and sustainability of the response. The second area is increased commitment to address political, social and legal barriers and blockages to fast track the response in Africa. We have prioritised key and marginalised populations such as Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTI), adolescent girls and young women, drug users, prisoners and sex workers.

    Excellencies;

    Ladies and Gentlemen;

  10. The focus on “Improving Quality of Life for People Living with HIV” in today’s deliberations sums up our concerns in this area of work. Our understanding, as Champions is that the quality of life for people living with HIV does not end at provision of treatment and resultant averting of death. It is much broader, including ending the stigma and discrimination in health facilities and homes, addressing discriminatory laws that hinder people from seeking medical care and support, and ending violence perpetrated against key populations especially LGBTI people and young women and girls.  These are some of the worrying factors that impact negatively on the quality of life of people living with HIV.

  11. Ladies and gentlemen, I need not overemphasize the fact that inclusivity in the AIDS response remains paramount. This is very key for us as the Champions. I can confirm that we have visited several of our countries in Africa and actively engaged national leaders, including Heads of State & Government, Parliamentarians; traditional and faith-based leaders, as well as leaders in civil society on these issues. We will continue to do so, as we believe that leadership holds the key to ending AIDS.

  12. As we engage with leaders at the national level, respectively, we raise our concerns on the barriers that we continue to face in ending AIDS. We have noted that these barriers come in many forms. They include laws that criminalize behaviour of key populations, especially LGBTI people, policies that deny girls and young women opportunities to seek healthcare, stigma, discrimination and violence that continue to plague our marginalised and vulnerable people.

  13. We are informed that the 6th Global Fund replenishment preparations are ongoing and urge for a strong reflection of these pertinent barriers in the plans.

  14. The international theme for this year’s World AIDS Day commemoration “know your status” is very close to our hearts. Hashtag know your status!

  15.  It is only when people know their status that new infections can be curbed, that people who are HIV positive can be linked to quality care and that those who are negative can remain so by accessing quality prevention services.

  16. Ladies and gentlemen, in 2001 I addressed the UN General Assembly and appealed to the international community to help save my country – Botswana - from annihilation by AIDS.

  17. People were dying in their thousands and without treatment. We have made commendable progress since then. However, we are informed through the latest UNAIDS 2018 report entitled “Knowledge is power” that the treatment gap continues to be unacceptably high. A large part of our population still does not know their HIV status, and cannot, therefore, take advantage of the life-saving treatment. Again, a part of our populations who are living with HIV, who should be on treatment, are not.

  18.  In addressing these complex issues that hinder the attainment of an AIDS free generation, as Champions, we continue to advocate to national, regional and international leaders and partners for increased effort and support in sustaining the response. We believe that increased commitment for funding the response, including increasing the domestic investment in the HIV response, are key to ending AIDS.

  19. The shrinking external resources coupled with the stagnant or slight increases in domestic investment in health and HIV and increasing new infections is resulting in a continually widening resource gap between what is required and what is available.

  20. African leaders must heighten their commitment to identify and expand domestic resources, protect funding available and optimize our investments by finding efficiencies. However, Africa cannot end AIDS alone. We as national and global leaders and partners have a responsibility to ensure that we continue to sustain the HIV and AIDS response if we are to win.

  21. The widespread mobilization efforts and solidarity to prevent infection and provide care to those already infected has slowed. This has lulled us into complacency because we assumed our achievement will last forever. As Champions we remain very concerned that if we continue in this manner and pace, AIDS will revert to where its challenges were insurmountable. In fact, we are beginning to see this emerge, we are seeing new infection rising in countries where they were already on a downward trend.

  22. Ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion, I wish to leave you with this message from the Champions, that we are in the remaining miles of our journey to ending AIDS and we cannot afford to compromise our achievements by disengaging or resting, since we know for sure that we will revert to where we were and lose all our gains. We implore our partners to recognise that AIDS is not yet over in Africa and that Africa cannot end AIDS by itself.

  23. AIDS is a global problem and needs to be addressed as such. The legacy of our leaders, especially parliamentarians, must be reflected in their progressive efforts for the betterment of our societies and the world.

 

Thank you.


The Champions

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 President of South Africa

Olusegun Obasanjo  | former President of Nigeria

Hifikepunye Pohamba  | former President of Namibia

Desmond Tutu  | Archbishop, Emeritus Cape Town & Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Speciosa Wandira-Kasibwe  | former Vice President of Uganda 

Miriam Were  | former Chairperson of the Kenya National AIDS Control Council

 

Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa call on Commonwealth parliamentarians to ‘leave no one behind’ in the fight to eradicate HIV and AIDS

27 November 2018  | London, United Kingdom


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa call on Commonwealth parliamentarians to ‘leave no one behind’ in the fight to eradicate HIV and AIDS

Two eminent former African Presidents, representing the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa, have urged Commonwealth parliamentarians to ensure they ‘leave no one behind’ in the fight to eradicate HIV and AIDS. The call was made during a side-event to the Westminster Seminar 2018, organised by The Royal Commonwealth Society in partnership with the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK, with the theme ‘HIV, Inclusion & Leaving No One Behind: A Conversation with Former African Presidents’.

H.E. Festus Mogae, Former President of Botswana and Chairperson of the Champions, and H.E. Joaquim Chissano, Former President of Mozambique, spoke passionately on why securing the human rights of key populations, including sexual and gender minorities, is essential for guaranteeing the health of all and leaving no one behind. They engaged the participants in a fruitful dialogue on how stigma and discrimination against key populations continues to present a barrier to access to health services and an AIDS-free generation in Africa and beyond.

In 36 of 53 Commonwealth countries consensual same-sex acts between adults are criminalised, overwhelmingly using legislation introduced under British colonial rule. In addition to legitimising discrimination and violence, these laws represent a significant barrier to accessing health services for LGBT+ people, who face stigma in health systems where their sexual behaviour is deemed a criminal offense.

H.E. Festus Mogae said: ‘Unfortunately, barriers to access to health and HIV services still exist and they continue to fuel stigma, discrimination and violence towards marginalised groups, especially for the LGBT+ people. These barriers continue to deny us the opportunity to end AIDS.’

H.E. Joaquim Chissano said: ‘We cannot end AIDS if some sectors of our populations are still left behind.’

Glenroy Murray, an LGBT+ equality activist from Jamaica’s J-FLAG, a member organisation of The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN), also participated in the dialogue. He spoke about his advocacy efforts for inclusivity in Jamaica, and how overcoming discrimination against LGBT+ people could help reduce the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean.

He said: ‘When our legal systems fail to protect us, or worse, criminalise us, then how we seek to navigate public spaces, and public health spaces in particular, becomes more challenging. LGBT+ people, wherever they are, should feel confident in knowing that they can walk into any public health space and be open about their health issues, without fear of discrimination or condemnation.’

The discussion was chaired by Dr Greg Munro, Chief Executive of The Royal Commonwealth Society, who has wide international experience working on HIV/AIDS, including with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and UNAIDS.

He said: ‘The Royal Commonwealth Society strongly believes that in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, eradicate HIV/AIDS, and leave no one behind, we must have honest and frank discussions about the rights of LGBT+ people. The Society is delighted to continue our work promoting these discussions, by welcoming Their Excellencies Festus Mogae and Joaquim Chissano to London to foster respectful dialogue and support their bold leadership on this issue of critical importance.’

 |  Ends | 

Notes to Editor

Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa

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 publicly and behind the scenes.

www.aidsfreechampions.org
Twitter: @AIDSFreeChamps
Facebook: Aids Free Champions
For more information about the Champions for an AIDS Free Generation contact Makhamokha Mohale |  E mohalem@unaids.org  | 

The Royal Commonwealth Society

The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), founded in 1868, is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Through youth empowerment, education and advocacy, the RCS promotes the value and the values of the modern Commonwealth. We champion human rights, democracy and sustainable development through our international networks and across the 53 member states which are intrinsically linked through their common history and shared values. Through membership of The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) and partnerships with UK and international LGBT+ civil society organisations, the Society continues to convene high-level Champions to build dialogue and consensus between civil society, the diplomatic community and Commonwealth governments about the need to secure equality and inclusion for LGBT+ people.

https://thercs.org/
Twitter: @TheRCSlondon
Facebook: The Royal Commonwealth Society
For more information about the event contact, Rory Evans, Programme Lead, The Royal Commonwealth Society | Tel +44 (0)20 3727 305 | E rory.evans@thercs.org |

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK)

CPA UK is located in and funded by the UK Parliament. It supports and strengthens parliamentary democracy throughout the Commonwealth focusing on key issues including women in parliament, modern slavery, financial oversight, security and trade. Peer to peer learning is central to CPA UK’s methodology. CPA UK designs bespoke interactions between UK and Commonwealth parliamentarians and officials, enabling and facilitating knowledge-sharing to achieve improved parliamentary oversight, scrutiny and representation. CPA UK’s Westminster Seminar 2018 runs from 26th -30th November 2018 in the heart of the UK Parliament and covers all aspects of parliamentary strengthening during the week long programme for over 70 Commonwealth parliamentarians and clerks.

https://www.uk-cpa.org/
Twitter: @CPA_UK
Facebook: @CPAUKbranch
For more information about CPA UK, please email Felicity Newall, Communications Manager, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK | Tel 020 7219 1747 | E newallfb@parliament.uk |

Press Release - Champions urge world to "Leave No One Behind" in the fight to eradicate AIDS - 30 March 2017 Pretoria

31 March 2017 | Pretoria, South Africa


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Press Release: African champions urge world to ‘Leave No One Behind’ in the fight to eradicate AIDS
The Champions for an AIDS Free Generation have declared that to eradicate AIDS as a public health threat, the world must ‘Leave No One behind’.
The declaration was made at a meeting of Pretoria-based Commonwealth diplomats and civil society experts in Pretoria, South Africa to discuss challenges around the rights and access to services of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex people as well as sex workers, adolescent girls and young women.


His Excellency Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Champions and former President of Botswana, informed the meeting that to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, no one should be left behind and that “We can only do so by engaging everyone”. He acknowledged the cultural sensitivities of the discussions but told the meeting that, “We cannot afford taboos in this day and age”. Fellow Champion, His Excellency Joaquim Chissano urged governments to decriminalise consensual same-sex activity between adults and stressed that this was crucial to stopping the spread of HIV. Meanwhile, His Excellency Benjamin Mkapa, the former Tanzanian President, called for a greater focus on removing barriers to accessing education on sexual and reproductive issues for young people, especially adolescent girls between the ages 10 to 19 years old.
Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, also attended and supported the call. “Protection of LGBTI persons and ensuring their access to HIV and health services must remain at the heart of our intervention and advocacy. We therefore need to intensify our efforts in addressing stigma and discrimination in health care settings through sensitization of health care personnel.” He also added, “We need a new paradigm shift in addressing gender inequalities, gender based violence and inequalities in access to health services which are fueling the HIV epidemic among adolescent girls and young women.”


The meeting also heard from Mr Danilo Da Silva, Executive Director of Mozambican organisation Lambda who spoke about the recent progress of Mozambique in reforming its penal code to decriminalise same-sex relations and modernise colonial-era legislation. Discussing the event, Mr Da Silva said, “this begins the debate and the Champions’ leadership will hopefully lead to a more open AFRICAN THINK-TANKON HIV, HEALTH & SOCIALconversation about inclusion of the most at risk populations such as LGBT people and their access to health services in the African region.”


Justice Oagile Dingake of the High Court of Botswana, Co-Chair of the African Think-Tank on HIV, Health and Social Justice, also praised the dialogue, saying “As sensitive as the subject might be, it is time that we have, in the African continent, a frank and inclusive dialogue regarding LGBTI persons and their rights in accessing health services without discrimination. The fundamental principles of equality and non-discrimination must apply to every citizen”.


Steve Letsike, Executive Director of South African organisation Access Chapter 2 stressed the importance of creating safe spaces for dialogue. She stated that “Taboos create silence and silences create injustice. This leads to gender-based violence and violence to other groups”.

|  Ends |

Notes to Editors


This dialogue was convened by the Champions for an AIDS Free Generation in Africa, Access Chapter 2, The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Kaleidoscope Trust and the African Think Tank on HIV, Health and Social Justice.


The debate was held on 30th March 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa.


In addition to Champions HE Festus Mogae, HE Joaquim Chissano and HE Benjamin Mkapa, attendees were drawn from Pretoria-based diplomats representing Commonwealth nations, civil society representatives and other experts.


Same-sex relations are still criminalised in 36 of 52 Commonwealth countries, largely as a legacy of laws imposed by the British Empire. The Champions for an AIDS Free Generation, established in 2008, is a group of former heads of states and eminent persons from Africa. The Champions’ 2017 to 2018 Strategic orientation focuses their advocacy on “Taking on complex issues to expand access to HIV services and leaving no one behind”. The orientation is premised on shifting focus from general HIV and AIDS advocacy to a directed effort on removing barriers to access and leaving no one behind. http://www.aidsfreechampions.org/

The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), founded in 1868, is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens around the world. Through youth empowerment, education and advocacy, the RCS promotes the value and values of the Commonwealth. www.thercs.org


Access Chapter 2 of Pretoria, was initiated to promote the human rights and empowerment of women and LGBTI people, and the participation of civil society organisation in governance and policy processes by creating space and coordinating platforms for engagement on governance, policy and accountability. http://www.ac2.org.za/index.html

The Kaleidoscope Trust was established in 2011. The Trust works to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people in countries where they do not have their equalrights and are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
www.kaleidoscopetrust.com/

The African Think-Tank on HIV, Health and Social Justice seeks to apply a human rights and social justice lens to the distinct African contextual realities of the ongoing HIV pandemic, with particular attention to people living with HIV and other key populations, including LGBTI persons.

Press Enquiries
Makha Mohale  | Executive Secretary of the Champions for an AIDS Free Generation in Africa  | mohalem@unaids.org

Nigeria Country Visit 25-26 May 2016

Champions in Nigeria ahead of global HIV/AIDS summit

From EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria


ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THREE eminent African leaders and UNAIDS Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation will embark on a two-day official visit to Nigeria to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s participation in the United Nations High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS.

The leaders that will be in Abuja are former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, and former Vice President of Uganda, Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe.

From tomorrow (Wednesday) the UNAIDS Champions will be meeting Buhari to discuss the HIV/AIDS response in Nigeria ahead of the United Nations High Level Meeting on Ending AIDS scheduled to take place from June 8 to 10 in New York.

The Champions will also meet members of the National Assembly, the leadership at the Ministry of Health, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and the United Nations Country Team in Nigeria.

Nigeria has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS with over 3,4 million living with the condition.

There are between 150 000 and 200 000 deaths per year.

– CAJ News

Good Leadership is about people - Festus Mogae

This article is courtesy of UN/AfricaRenewal online.

Author: Tefo Pheage

Festus Mogae served as president of the southern African country of Botswana from 1998 to 2008. He is the recipient of several international awards, including the 2008 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. In this interview held recently in New York with Tefo Pheage for Africa Renewal, the former president shared his thoughts on gay rights, the reform of the UN Security Council, the right to protect civilians in humanitarian crises and the fight against HIV/AIDS.  These are excerpts from the interview.

Africa Renewal: Let us start with the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Some African leaders are of the view that gay rights are un-African. They applauded Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe when he declared at the UN 70th General Assembly that Africans were not gay. As an advocate for LGBT rights, what is your view on Africa and human rights?

Fetus Mogae: It’s not surprising that we appear to be speaking from different corners of the mouth. Differences in opinion are welcome. While I admit that the West often push their agendas on Africa, which we must be wary of, I also believe that we must, as Africans, admit that the world is changing and we must move with the times. This means often abandoning some of our long-held convictions about life, if the need arises. In my long interaction with LGBT groups and extensive research, I have come to the realisation that we are limited in our knowledge and must be open to new discoveries. I have been converted; I used to hold the same beliefs as my counterparts. President Mugabe has said that he hates homosexuals and is on record as saying they are worse than pigs and dogs. That is still his position. Leadership is not always about you, it is about people and often circumstances. I call upon African leaders to open up to second generation rights.

You have on several occasions clashed with Botswana’s current leadership and religious organisations due to your persistent advocacy to decriminalise LGBT practices in Botswana. How has it been?

Obviously not easy, but when you believe in something, nothing should stop you. Botswana inherited a law that outlaws is against homosexuality. We have not repealed it, but generally we have not harassed or arrested these groups (gays and lesbians). But the international community would say it is not enough to say you haven’t made any arrests because if you have such a law, you or another leader may wake up the next day and apply its provisions. Our argument as a country has always been that we haven’t imprisoned any member of these specific groups.

Are you hopeful that LGBT rights will be respected in the near future in Africa?

Yes, some countries like South Africa have already paved the way and others are following slowly. Change takes time and often meets resistance in some quarters. One of the challenges we have in Africa is that even the traditional leaders or chiefs are against LGBT groups. I once participated in a debate organised by the BBC. Traditional leaders argued that they didn’t like homosexuals because young people will follow their ways. They said they wanted their children to get married, give birth and keep family names alive and bring bride prices, amongst many other benefits. I found this to be selfish and a wrong mentality towards LGBT rights.

The UN has been heavily criticised of late by some member states for being ineffective and undemocratic. Do you think the UN has lived up to expectations?

Just like any other organisation, the UN has its own problems and limitations. I think the problem is with the Security Council and its veto power. The UN would be better off and more democratic without veto powers. Even we as Africans have to advocate for total abolition of the veto, but not permanent Security Council membership. In that case, states will be more equal. It is without a doubt that at the UN, some member states are more equal than others. The concept of vetoes is outdated and is tarnishing the good name of the UN.

The African Union has been pushing for a seat on the Security Council but it seems to be unable  to agree on which country would occupy such a seat. What’s your comment on this?

I support Africa’s demand for an AU permanent seat on the Security Council. The question, however, is whether we are capable of nominating one of our own to represent us. You will recall that there is Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and others who want to join the Council. We should be advocating for a permanent seat for an African country that will take its mandate from all the AU heads of states.

How do we balance a country’s sovereignty with the right of outsiders to intervene particularly in times of economic failure, humanitarian crisis or internal conflicts?

As with everything else, it is always the difficulties at the margins. Even if a country is well governed, it could still face unprecedented levels of unemployment as we have here in Botswana. But that should not justify outside intervention. However, if a country starts to experience inter-ethnic conflicts, the international community could feel they cannot sit on the sidelines and watch people being butchered willy-nilly by those who once vowed to protect them. Sovereignty has limits like any other right. A leader cannot kill and harass his people and hide behind sovereignty. A true leader does not kill but protects his people. We still have leaders in Africa who think they are indispensable, larger than life and more important than their countries. That must stop. If a leader loses control, the world will and should intervene to save the people.

You are regarded globally as a champion in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In your travels throughout Africa, how do you assess this fight?

We have fought a good battle but we are still experiencing new infections. I think our worst enemy is complacency. You will recall that after the virus was first discovered in the 1980s in Africa, people were dying on a massive scale. We entered into a state of panic and too much stigma and discrimination was attached to the deadly virus. All that has since changed. But the biggest mistake will be to think we have won the war. In Botswana, we declared the virus an emergency. I took the HIV/AIDS fight from the Ministry of Health to the presidency for close and more authoritative monitoring, and it paid off. The situation has greatly stabilised, according to statistics, and I have learnt that the same has been happening in other countries.

- See more at: http://www.un.org/africarenewal/web-features/good-leadership-about-people-%E2%80%93-festus-mogae

Press statement by H.E. Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe, member of the Champions for and AIDS Free Generation in Africa and Former Vice President of Uganda: On occasion of Champions visit to Sierra Leone

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.

 

Press Statement by the Honourable Minister of Health Abu Bakarr Fofanar, at the conclusion of the Champions' visit to Sierra Leone

3, December, 2015. Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Your Excellency Dr Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, Director General of National AIDS Secretariat Dr Momodu Sesay, UNAIDS Country Director Dr Michael Gboun, members of the fourth estate, ladies and gentlemen, we are honoured to have the inaugural visit of the Champions for an HIV free generation in Africa in Sierra Leone, especially the personal visit of Her Excellency Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, former Vice President of Uganda.

The AIDS Free Generation Champions have brought strength and more energy to the national AIDS response. This visit has awakened us to the realities of the possibility of moving from one success story to making another history. Indeed, Sierra Leone has strong political commitment to address the HIV epidemic in order to cease AIDS as a public health threat.

We are aware that fast tracking the response means getting more with little resources, producing results within our existing bottlenecks and weak systems, and using efficient and innovate delivery models to reach our people who need these services, fast and on time.

This visit has opened a new history chapter for Sierra Leone. We will be relentless until we achieve the vision of His Excellency, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma – 100% HIV coverage for children and pregnant women who are HIV positive, increasing HIV testing coverage, bringing back all those lost to treatment, and eliminating vertical HIV transmission. The Government of Sierra Leone is also committed in having an HIV budget line, which has been approved within the 2016 national budget with 1.7 billion Leones. We will also explore the potentials that exist with the private sector and communities as important partners to achieve these ambitious national targets.

We want to reassure our citizens, national partners, development partners and the global community that we remain resilient, committed, and determined for this life saving course to rebuild this country towards prosperity. We hope that the Champions will continue to support Sierra Leone and be available to work with us to make history on ending Ends in West Africa.

 

Champions commemorate World AIDS Day

MEDIA ADVISORY

Champions partner with the Government of Sierra Leone in Commemorating World AIDS day 2015.

 

DATE:  December 1, 2015

PLACE: Kenema, Sierra Leone

 

Interested media please contact:

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

 

The esteemed Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation will this year commemorate world AIDS day with the Government of Sierra Leone. Activities will be held on December 1st in Kenama, Sierra Leone.

The aim is if for the Champions to work in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone in mobilizing policy makers, development partners, civil society organizations and community leaders using the World AIDS day commemorations as a platform

The Champions will be represented by H.E. Dr. Speciosa Wandira- Former Vice-President of Uganda.

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

 

 

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

Champions Host Private Sector Meeting In Johannesburg, South Africa

MEDIA ADVISORY

Champions and Private Sector to hold Dialogue- with Private Sector  leaders and SADC region Parliamentarians on shaping partnerships towards ending AIDS by 2030

 

DATE:  9.00 am – 1.00 pm, November 26, 2015

PLACE: Hyatt Regency Rosebank

 

Interested media please contact:

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

 

The esteemed Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation will meet with leaders from the Private Sector and SADC region Parliamentarians in two special Dialogue sessions in Johannesburg on November 26. 2015.

The Dialogues will begin to shape partnerships to Fast-Track the end of the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat and the unique roles that the Private Sector and Parlimentarians can bring to ensure that no one is left behind.

The Champions will be represented by H.E. Kgalema Motlanthe- Former President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo- Former President of Nigeria and H.E. Dr. Speciosa Wandira- Former Vice-President of Uganda.

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa- Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania hosts an interactive Youth Dialogue

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, October 2015 — H.E. Benjamin William Mkapa-Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania holds a dialogue with the youth of Tanzania.

In his opening remarks H.E. Mkapa encouraged the youth to have an open and free conversation with him. President Mkapa explained that beyond being a political leader he was a father and a grandfather, therefore the future health of the youth of Tanzania is personally important to him.

“What kind of future can they have, if they start off with all kinds of infections; between malaria, HIV, polio and others, how do we tackle these problems? These are matters of concern to me. But for a poor country I think the best way to combat disease is to prevent it.” H.E. Benjamin Mkapa

The youth were represented by a strong well rounded group who raised a diverse number of highly critical issues. Some of the issues brought up for discussion were having youth friendly services. The absences of youth friendly services were seen as a deterrent to young people seeking counselling and prevention services.

Another critical topic that was raised was female genital mutilation. “In Tanzania, risky traditional practices are still going on, for instance female genital mutilation, polygamy and inheritance of widows, would you have suggestions on how we as young leaders and you as Champions could work together to reduce or altogether eradicate this problem not just raising awareness alone” Mercy Kyando- TAYOA

It was a fruitful dialogue which addressed a varied number of key areas critical areas ranging from testing to youth centres to traditional factors to may play a factor in HIV infection rates.

 

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 Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa (The Champions) are keenly aware of the data on new HIV infections which tells a story of rising figures within the youth cohort across the continent.            

Equipped with this strategic information, the Champions prioritized the collaboration with, and engagement of, young people into the regional AIDS response. To do this effectively, they recognised the need to consult, interact with and listen to the views of young people. This understanding gave rise to the Youth Dialogues with The Champions series.

In keeping with their mandate, the Champions identified the engagement of youth, and youth leadership, as an effective means to ensure the health, well-being and rights of all young people.

In their advocacy outreach, the Champions intend to use their voice, status and platform to promote youth leadership, strategic partnering and collaboration with youth groups to develop HIV programmes that are youth friendly, sensitive and accessible to all young people.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

H.E. Festus Mogae- Former President of the Republic of Botswana partners with Youth Leaders for an AIDS free Africa

GABORONE, Phakalane Golf Estate, Botswana, 21st September 2015 — The Chairperson of The Champions, H.E. Festus Mogae-Former President of the Republic of Botswana speaks to the youth about HIV and AIDS during a Youth Dialogue.

During this dialogue the former President engaged in a discussion with empowered youth. Together, they explored ways which the youth can play a role in protecting themselves from HIV and remaining AIDS free.

President Mogae expressed his concern at the fact that the hardest hit population is the youth. “The highest rate of infection in all our sub-Saharan African countries is precisely among the young people, the working population, and the young and educated people”.

The former president encouraged youth to test for HIV, reminding them that stigma and discrimination were the biggest barriers to curbing the infecting rates of HIV.

It was an interactive discussion where they you also shared a number of creative ways the Champions could employ to better reach the youth with their messages. The youth, who represented a broad background, also expressed gratitude at the Champions efforts to hold dialogues with them. 

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 Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa (The Champions) are keenly aware of the data on new HIV infections which tells a story of rising figures within the youth cohort across the continent.            

Equipped with this strategic information, the Champions prioritized the collaboration with, and engagement of, young people into the regional AIDS response. To do this effectively, they recognised the need to consult, interact with and listen to the views of young people. This understanding gave rise to the Youth Dialogues with The Champions series.

In keeping with their mandate, the Champions identified the engagement of youth, and youth leadership, as an effective means to ensure the health, well-being and rights of all young people.

In their advocacy outreach, the Champions intend to use their voice, status and platform to promote youth leadership, strategic partnering and collaboration with youth groups to develop HIV programmes that are youth friendly, sensitive and accessible to all young people.

 

 

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

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

PR

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..

During the meeting, Mr Zuma declared his continued support for the Champions and their efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

In 2013, an estimated 6.3 million people were living with HIV in South Africa. and HIV prevalence in the country among 15–49 year olds was more than 19%. In the same year, there were 340 000 new HIV infections—a 39% decrease from 2005.

Earlier in the day, the Champions met with the Deputy President of South Africa for a wide-ranging dialogue on the AIDS response.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa gave his thanks to the Champions and assured them of his support both as Deputy President and as the Chair of the South African National AIDS Council.

The Deputy President noted the need to engage young people and committed to scaling up HIV treatment in South Africa over the next five years.

The Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation was launched in 2008 by Festus Mogae, the former President of Botswana. The Champions 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. They transcend political partisanship to speak freely and independently about the issues that need solutions, both publically and behind the scenes.

The Champions are holding a three-day meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, to discuss how they can help accelerate the response to the AIDS epidemic in partnership with governments and the private sector.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most affected by the AIDS epidemic. In 2013, there were 24.7 million [23.5 million—26.1 million] people living with HIV in the region.

 

The Champions are:

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

 

Contact

Champions Gaborone | Makhamokha Mohale | +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 

Download PDF (English)

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. 

“The Champions are determined to keep HIV high on the continental agenda,” said Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Champions. “We will leave no one behind and we will not rest until Africa has reached the goal of an AIDS-free generation.”

During their three-day meeting, the Champions are scheduled to hold high-level discussions with the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, and leading figures from the private sector.

The Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation was launched in 2008 by Mr Mogae, the former President of Botswana. The Champions transcend political partisanship to speak freely and independently about the issues that need solutions, both publically and behind the scenes. Since November, five new leaders have joined their distinguished ranks: Kgalema Motlanthe, former President of South Africa; Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi; Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of Mali; Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria; and Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President of Namibia.

“Today, we come together as a strengthened group of Champions to reaffirm our commitment to ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to ensuring that mothers and children already living with HIV stay healthy,” said Ms Banda. “I am proud to be involved in the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation.”

As the Champions reaffirmed their commitment to an AIDS-free generation, they were joined by partners that include UNAIDS, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and private sector representatives.

“The Champions have been steadfast in calling for improved HIV prevention and treatment options, and there has been progress,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé. “Now, with their ranks strengthened, the Champions will be even stronger advocates to fast-track the AIDS response in Africa to ensure that every baby is born free from HIV and that their mothers stay healthy.”     

“An AIDS-free generation is within our grasp if we use the scientific knowledge, data and tools at our disposal,” said Ambassador Deborah Birx, United States Global AIDS Coordinator and United States Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “I am inspired today by this committed group of leaders, who are using their wisdom and influence to move towards an AIDS-free generation in Africa.”  

We need leaders like the Champions who are unafraid to speak out and put AIDS at the very top of Africa’s health agenda,” said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Other partners of the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation include UNICEF, the World Bank, the South African Development Community (SADC), the SADC Parliamentary Forum, the Economic Community of West African States and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.    

The risk of a mother living with HIV passing the virus to her child can be reduced to 5% or less if she has access to antiretroviral medicines during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. 

“Women need strong partners like the Champions so they receive access to proper HIV counselling, treatment and prevention services,” said Lorraine Mashishi, a mother living with HIV. “Women living with HIV can avoid passing the virus on to their children if they get the support they need.”

Currently 21 of the 22 countries that are part of the Global Plan to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive are in Africa. Since 2009, there has been a 43% decline in new HIV infections among children in these countries, but there were still 210 000 (180 000–250 000) new HIV infections among children in sub-Saharan Africa in 2013. Only 42% of children exposed to HIV were tested for the virus within the recommended two months. Without treatment, half of all children living with HIV will die by the age of two and the majority will die by the age of five.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most affected by the AIDS epidemic—in 2013, there were 24.7 million (23.5 million—26.1 million) people living with HIV in the region.

   The Champions are:

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

 

Contact

Champions Gaborone | Makhamokha Mohale | +267 77166804 | 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

 

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Download PDF (English)

New Champions join efforts for an AIDS-free generation in Africa

Ahead of the African Union Summit, former Presidents of Malawi, Mali, Nigeria and South Africa are among the new Champions committing to Fast-Tracking access to HIV prevention and treatment services in sub-Saharan Africa. 

 JOHANNESBURG/GABORONE, Botswana, 23 January 2015—Today, the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation (Champions) announced that four leaders are joining their distinguished ranks.

The new Champions are: Kgalema Motlanthe, former President of South Africa; Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi; Alpha Oumar Konaré, former President of Mali; and Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.

“We are thrilled to welcome these respected leaders, who have championed the AIDS response in their countries and on the continent,” said Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Champions. “Now, more than ever, Africa must Fast-Track the AIDS response if we are to end the epidemic by 2030.”

Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation was first launched in 2008 by Festus Mogae, the former President 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. 

“We have seen tremendous progress in each of our countries and we will continue to work across Africa to ensure that all babies are born free from HIV and that their mothers can remain healthy,” said Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe, former Vice-President of Uganda. “We welcome the new Champions into the programme, and together we shall support Africa to play its leadership role for an AIDS-free generation.”

“I am very happy to be joining the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation,” said former President Motlanthe. “We are committed to accelerating our response to the epidemic so that we can end AIDS as a public health threat across the continent by 2030.”

The Champions 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.

“Through the Champions we can harness the wisdom and courage of great leaders who have changed countless lives by breaking the silence about AIDS,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

Since 2009, there has been a 43% decline in new HIV infections among children in the 21 priority countries of the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive in Africa. There were 210 000 [180 000–250 000] new HIV infections among children in sub-Saharan Africa in 2013.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most affected by the AIDS epidemic. In 2013, there were 24.7 million [23.5 million–26.1 million] people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.

 The Champions are:

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

 

Contact

Champions 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

 UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners to maximize results for the AIDS response. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Download PDF (English)  |  Download PDF (French)