As Gambians are bracing up for World AIDS Day, major stakeholders convened Monday a press conference to unveil activities that are set out for the commiserative event. The global movement geared towards uniting people in the fight against HIV/AIDS is scheduled to take place in Brikama on December 14, 2023.
Speaking to reporters, National AIDS Secretariat, Adama Drammeh, reminded everyone that this year’s theme will be centred on the leading role communities are playing in mitigating the virus.
“On World AIDS Day, we recognize communities in shaping the fight against the pandemic and global health,” she added while indicating that they are tirelessly pushing ahead with plans to ending AIDS by 2030.
Unlike some South African countries were AIDs is on the verge of being eradicated, the tiny West African nation is still confronted with the disease as many Gambians are dragging their feet to test whether they are HIV/AIDS positive or not.
She further stated that remembering people living with HIV/AIDS gives them strength to continue what they are doing.
“Today, there are effective treatment against HIV,” she said. But she was quick to deplored the fact that some people are being infected as they continue to remain in the dark with regard on how to protect themselves.
Similar sentiments were echoed by UNAIDS Country Director Sirra Ndow emphasized the important role played by communities to contain the spread of the virus.
“We are shining a light on how community-led interventions are central to enabling the end of AIDS as a global health threat,” she said in a statement delivered during the presser. “The world can end AIDS with communities leading the way.”
According to her, communities connect people will HIV/AIDS, build trust. She then added that they have registered successes in terms of HIV treatment and prevention services.
She also acknowledged the fact they have identified areas where they have to improve on, indicating that this year’s theme will be centred on “Let Communities Lead.”
The UNAIDS Country Director made it clear that communities leadership role needs to be funded, be properly supported and remunerated.
In an attempt to send a strong message to the country’s law-making body, she insisted on the “need to remove laws that harm, create laws that empower.”
The Director of Action Aid International – The Gambia, Mam Kumba Ndow, commended healthcare workers for leading the charge in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
She subsequently delivered a thank you message to all the doctors, nurses and all health workers dedicating their valuable lives to save life.
The Action Aid Director reiterated the commitment to support frontline workers who have been instrumental in containing the virus to exponentially spread.
While recognizing the multisectoral dimension of the fight against HIV/AIDS, she praised the media for amplifying their messages and fulfilling their duty to inform.
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China is official sponsor of this year’s commemorative event.