Harare City Signs Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities To End AIDS By 2030

THE City of Harare today joined 350 other Cities globally who in signing the declaration on Fast-Track Cities and commit to Ending AIDS by the year 2030.

By Michael Gwarisa

The Fast-Track Cities initiative is a global partnership between cities with an HIV burden and four core partners: the City of Paris, France,( the first city to sign on the initiative); the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC); and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat

Making his commitment, Acting mayor of Harare, His Worship,  Cllr Musarurwa Mutizwa said there was a still a high burden of HIV and AIDS in women and young girls and there was need to act on the commitments to ensure the target of ending AIDS by 2030 is attained.

There are more HIV infections in women than men each year in Harare according to commissioned studies. The City of Harare is therefore council proud to join the movement to end HIV /AIDS by 2030,” he said. 
Giving her remarks, UNAIDS Country Director, Ms Sophia Monico Mukasa said the commitment by the City of Harare was a step in the right direction towards ending AIDS by 2030.

“My task this morning is to congratulate the City of Harare, led by His Worship the Mayor, for joining the global community to commit to Ending the AIDS by 2030 and in so doing, also pledges to end Inequalities that are a major hinderance to achieving this noble goal.

“The world is threatened by an expanding list of pandemics. As we enter a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also enter the fifth decade of the AIDS pandemic. Inequalities in power, status, rights and voice are driving the HIV epidemic. As the Global AIDS strategy 2021-2026 sets out: to end AIDS, we have to end the inequalities which perpetuate it,” she said.

She added that there was another huge benefit to this step by Harare as the same laws, policies and strong people-centred health services needed to end AIDS, will also help the world overcome Covid-19, be ready to tackle future pandemics, and support inclusive economic growth and fulfil the human rights of all.

"We need a paradigm shift in health financing and invest in community-led, human 
rights-based, gender transformative responses, invest in essential workers, equitable
access to life-saving medicines and health technologies, data systems that can 
detect inequalities, and rights-based approaches that address those inequalities.

“We need to end the inequalities in access to essential services, by delivering on guaranteed health and education for everyone. For many communities, a widening gap separates those who have prevention, treatment and care services and their rights respected and those who are left behind or excluded.The new Global AIDS Strategy and the political declaration adopted by member states in June 2021, calls on all Countries to re-commit to ending AIDS and to draw lessons from the COVID 19 Pandemic to address inequalities, HIV, GBV, SRHR,  and forge a common front to address present and future pandemics.”

She also said bold, ambitious goals have been set to reach 95% of those in need with HIV treatment and prevention: to get there we need to re-imagine HIV services, making them easy to access and designed around people’s lives.

Meanwhile, International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) East and Southern Africa (ESA) Regional Director, Dr. Yolanda Manuel said, with the inclusion of Harare, the number of Zimbabwean cities in the FTC initiative rises to two, increasing to 123 the number of FTC in the Southern and Eastern Africa regions, the world’s most affected areas by this disease.

“We strongly believe that together and in a coordinated way, cities will take significant steps towards controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region. To join this movement, cities and municipalities, just like Harare is doing, must sign the Fast-Track Cities Paris Declaration, a commitment to ensure that 95 percent of people living with HIV (PLHIV) will know their status, that 95 percent of all PLHIV will receive sustained antiretroviral treatment, and that 95 percent of all PLHIV on antiretroviral treatment will have durable viral suppression: the 95-95-95 HIV treatment targets to be achieved by 2025,” said Dr Manuel.

She added that These targets will rapidly reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths and place cities on the “fast track” to end the AIDS epidemic and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 3.3.

 

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