AS the 2020 World AIDS Day (WAD) commemorations draw near, Zimbabwe has launched the WAD 2020 Campaign theme, theme song and logo.
By Michael Gwarisa
The WAD 2020 will be running under the theme “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility, Ending AIDS By 2030. According to the National AIDS Council (NAC), the 2020 WAD Celebrations will be held on December 1, 2020 in Harare at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), under strict observance of COVID-19 regulations in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) set standards.
Speaking during a virtual Press Conference to mark the launch of the campaign, UNAIDS Zimbabwe Country Director, Ms Sophia Mukasa Monico said the COVID-19 had given the world an opportunity to reflect on the progress as well as find better ways to deal with HIV even in the presence of another epidemic.
I believe we all realise that COVID-19 has demonstrated that during a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Leaving people behind is not an option if we are to succeed in eliminating stigma and discrimination. People at the center and grounding our responses in human rights and gender responses approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 crisis has been a wake-up call as well as an opportunity to do things differently better and together. In many respects, the defeat of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, depends on how the world responds to COVID-19. We have seen how the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the challenges that are faced by people living with HIV, women and girls and key populations including in accessing lifesaving health care,” said Ms Monico.
She added that the COVID-19 crisis has widened to socioeconomic inequalities that increases the vulnerability of marginalized groups to HIV.
“The leadership and engagement of communities which is instrumental to the success of the AIDS response has also been key in responding to COVID-19. We have seen countless examples of how community activism and solidarity have once again been paramount in providing people affected by HIV with information, services, social protection and hope. However, such solidarity cannot be the sole responsibility of communities. It has to be shared responsibility.
“Therefore government, donors, faith leaders, civil society and each and everyone of us need to contribute in making the world a healthier place Global Solidarity and Shared responsibility requires us to view global health responses including the AIDS response in a new way. It requires the world to come together to ensure that health is fully financed. Governments must come together and find new ways to ensure that healthcare is fully funded. No one country can do it alone, domestic and international funding for health must be increased.”
She added that there was likely to be a shortage of lifesaving Antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs globally and applauded the health minister for taking steps towards ensuring availability of drugs won’t be affected.
National AIDS Council (NAC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Bernard Madzima said in order to defeat the double threat of COVID-19 and HIV, there is need to think local and globally.
“Today, we are looking at the theme itself, the theme song which we are launching today. They are really intended to deal with identity and to guide the campaign. The WAD itself will be very limited in terms of numbers attending. In fact, we wanted to hold it in Mashonaland West Province but we have to do it here in Harare to accommodate COVOD-19. However, we need to arrange for the public through our social media platforms and the national television,” said Dr Madzima.
He added that the main WAD event will be virtual and NAC has already branded their boardroom with the 2020 WAD colors and branding.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN) National Coordinator, Mr Godfrey Mudariki said communities have a key role to play in the national HIV response.