18 July 2016
Mayor Officially Opens AIDS2016 Global Village
A momentous opening of the AIDS2016 Global Village by eThekwini Mayor, James Nxumalo was celebrated ahead of the weeklong 21st International AIDS Conference which officially begins today, 18 July.
Situated at the Durban Exhibition Centre, the Global Village contains exhibition stands from local and global health care service providers, activists, planned events, space for members of the public and organisations to gather and acquire information, networking lounges and food stalls. The Global Village will be running alongside the AIDS conference.
Nxumalo officially declared the Global Village open with a positive message to all attendees. “This space provides an opportunity to bridge the areas of health and science through dialogue, with the aim to learn and share. Residents must use this as a platform to learn,” he said.
Nxumalo added that stakeholders, activists, scientists and government must come together for a common cause. “Let us all hold hands to end the scourge of HIV/Aids by 2030.”
MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said: “The Global Village is all about turning science into action and coming up with interventions to ensure an Aids- free generation.”
Darren Walker, from the Ford Foundation, based in New York, provided insight into achieving the 2030 goal. He said inequality drives the HIV/Aids epidemic. “To fight HIV/Aids, we must fight inequality. And to eliminate inequality, we must eliminate HIV/Aids,” said Walker.
Everyone is urged to get involved throughout the duration of the conference by visiting the Global Village. People are also urged to wear red, white and black clothing and to light candles of hope in memory of those infected and affected by HIV.
President Jacob Zuma, in a press statement released on Sunday, 17 July said South Africa is pleased to host the conference during this period when the country has been making progress in its response to the disease since the policy turnaround in 2009.
Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Performance, Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration, Jeff Radebe added that it is indeed an apt time for the event to take place as the world observes International Mandela Day on 18 July.
“We are excited at the prospect of a rainbow of humanity from all over the globe gathering in South Africa at a time when we observe International Nelson Mandela Day with acts of kindness and charity,” said Radebe.
Radebe said AIDS 2016 is a platform from which governments, civil society, the scientific community, business and social partners at large will jointly secure the access, equity and rights that continue to elude millions of people infected or affected by HIV, Aids and TB.
On 01 December 2009 President Zuma announced that the country would launch a massive campaign to mobilise all South Africans to get tested for HIV. The campaign resulted in more than 20 million people being tested. Currently, South Africa has the largest antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in the world.
The conference line-up includes many prominent international figures who are globally renowned activists and leaders in the fight against HIV/Aids. They include the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who will engage in a dialogue with young girls, Prince Harry, Charlize Theron and Elton John.
Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa.
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