Remarks by Mr. Zlatan Milišić, United Nations Resident Coordinator on World AIDS Day 2020

Today, Tanzania joins with other nations around the world to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS.

Excellences,

  • Your Excellency Donald Wright, [Guest of Honour] U.S. Ambassador,  
  • Honourable Permanent Secretaries present,
  • Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner,
  • Director of TACAIDS,
  • Dr. Leo Zekeng, UNAIDS Country Director
  • Distinguished colleagues from the Government and the UN family,

 

Kilimanjaro Hoyee!

Kilimanjaro Safi!

Habari za asubuhi na Asalam Aleikhum!

It is a great pleasure for me as Resident Coordinator of the United Nations to deliver the UN Secretary-General’s message on this auspicious occasion of 2020 World AIDS Day. The theme for this year: “Global solidarity, shared responsibility” resonates with the goals and objectives of the UN. First, allow me, Hon Prime Minister, to congratulate you on your re-appointment and swearing-in as the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania – HONGERA SANA MHESHIMIWA WAZIRI MKUU!

Today, Tanzania joins with other nations around the world to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS. I also bring you greetings from the United Nations, in particular from the UN Secretary-General, on whose behalf I deliver this remark.

As you know, the UN works in close collaboration with the Government with the common objective of ensuring an equal distribution of development gains across the country and to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 that will make a positive impact on the people of Tanzania.

HIV is prominently featured in the Healthy Nation Pillar of UN Development Assistance Plan, UNDAP II. Our work under the leadership of UNAIDS is defined by the global effort to reach three zeros: Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related deaths. Today the UN family in Tanzania joins hands with the Government and people of Tanzania in celebrating the remarkable achievements to manage HIV and AIDS over the past 30 years. We are proud to partake in this success.

In addition to our traditional role on advocacy, policy dialogue and normative guidance, key results of our work include:

i)      Generation and analysis of strategic information, such as the annual HIV estimates for planning, programming and resource mobilization

ii)     HIV testing and treatment. I would like to commend the Government for the amendment of the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act (2008), lowering of the age of testing from 18 to 15 years without parental consent and introducing HIV self-testing.

iii)    Elimination of mother-to-child transmission by 2025

iv)    HIV prevention among adolescents and youth. We laud the Government’s efforts for the development of the National Accelerated Investment Agenda for Adolescent Health and Wellbeing (NAIA) and express our readiness to support its implementation.

v)     Legal, social and political environment on stigma and discrimination for key and vulnerable populations. This is an area where progress has been slow, and we need to redouble our efforts.

vi)    Sustainability agenda to reduce external dependency: It is worth mentioning our current efforts to strengthen the capacities of TACAIDS (Tanzania Commission for AIDS) to implement its resource mobilization strategy and increase domestic resources.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a high toll on myriad lives and livelihoods. It shows how health is interlinked with other critical issues, such as human rights, gender equality, and economic growth. This enables us to approach global health responses, including the AIDS response, in a more strategic way. It requires the world to come together to ensure:

1)     Health is fully financed - Funding for health must be increased.

2)     Health systems are strengthened.

3)     Access is ensured: No one should be left behind in accessing life-saving health commodities.

4)     Human rights are respected, and gender equality is achieved.

As we develop the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, we shall ensure that HIV is integrated to sustain the gains and work together towards ending AIDS in Tanzania. And now allow me to read the SG’s message!

I quote:

“With the world’s attention focused on the COVID-19 crisis, World AIDS Day is a reminder of the need to maintain focus on another global pandemic that is still with us nearly 40 years after it emerged.

 

Despite significant successes, the AIDS emergency is not over.  HIV still infects 1.7 million people each year and kills some 690 000.  And inequalities mean that those who are the least able to stand up for their rights are still the most affected. 

 

COVID-19 has been a wake-up call to the world.  Inequalities in health affect all of us.  No one is safe unless we all are safe.

 

The HIV response has much to teach the fight against COVID-19.  We know that to end AIDS and defeat COVID-19 we must eliminate stigma and discrimination, put people at the centre and ground our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches. 

 

Wealth should not determine whether people get the health care they need.  We need a COVID-19 vaccine and HIV treatments and care that are affordable and available to everyone, everywhere.

 

Health is a human right.  Health must be a top investment priority to achieve universal health coverage.  On this World AIDS Day let us recognize that to overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in solidarity and share responsibility.”

End of quote

Asanteni Sana!

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