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.