Seychelles calls for new partnerships to end AIDS
President Danny Faure yesterday called for a new paradigm of global partnerships based on a shared responsibility to end AIDS.
He was speaking at a high-level event by UNAIDS at the United Nations in New York entitled “Fast Track: Quickening the Pace of Action to end AIDS”.
The President said that while Seychelles was doing the best within its capacity to battle a drugs scourge that contributed to the AIDS problem and to simultaneously eliminate HIV/AIDS by 2030, it had limited resources as a small island state.
The international community should “enhance mutual accountability for the shared responsibility of eradicating HIV/AIDS”, he urged.
Such a global investment would touch millions living with the disease who need access to prevention programmes and treatment for their entire lives, the President said. “It is an investment that delivers great returns through increased lower health care costs, increased productivity, and overall prosperity in all of our societies.”
HIV/AIDS had risen to the top of Seychelles’ list of concerns with an increase in HIV infections in the past few years caused by intravenous drug use. “Indeed, the only Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Seychelles was unable to meet was Goal 6 on combating HIV/AIDS,” said Mr Faure.
Drug use “is destroying our young people and our families,” he said. “We are experiencing low productivity; young people using drugs cannot maintain employment, resulting in the recruitment of foreign workers. Overall, the drug problem in Seychelles is becoming a national development issue with multiplier effects in many parts of society.”
Seychelles’ National AIDS Council (NAC) was developing a new National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 designed to accelerate the national response to this drug-related social ill and other HIV related issues. The NAC was also focusing on improving data collection to understand the problem better.
He informed the meeting of the many efforts by governmental organisations, civil society, faith-based organisations, the private sector and individuals in Seychelles to relentlessly fight against HIV and AIDS.
But the national efforts of countries would not be sufficient. “The HIV/AIDS response should be approached as a global response. Let us act together to defeat the epidemic at home and across the globe,” President Faure said.
The President with Mr Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS