Dr Ihab Ahmed (left) handing over to Professor John Idoko
The Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) has inaugurated its new leadership, headed by Prof John Idoko of Nigeria.
The new seven-member board takes over from Dr Ihab Ahmed of Egypt, who led the Society from 2014 to 2017.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony in Accra, Dr Ahmed congratulated the new board on their new role.
He said the Society has worked over the years to empower Africans to address and respond to the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS on the continent.
Dr Ahmed explained that one of its flagship programmes, International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), also promotes positive environment and research on HIV and its related diseases.
Professor Idoko, in his acceptance speech after signing the handing over notes, pledged to build on the positive strides of his predecessor.
He said the global HIV trend was declining, however, the prevalence among key populations, adolescents and men who have sex with men (MSM) were increasing.
Professor Idoko also mentioned that funding for AIDS programme was dwindling, thus, calling for home-grown solutions to Africa’s AIDS epidemic.
He, therefore, stated that under his leadership, the two areas will be addressed through working with HIV/AIDS institutions in the various countries while strengthening research among young people to take up the roles.
Dr Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), commended SAA for organising ICASA, which provides the platform to increase knowledge on the virus, share experience and develop a strong network and significantly reduce stigma in society.
“SAA also contributed tremendously to organising the fourth National HIV and AIDS Research Conference (NHARCON) which is currently underway,” she said.
Angela Trenton-Mbonde, Country Director, UNAIDS, urged the Society not to lose sight of involving people living with HIV in decision making.
“People living with HIV are the hearts of the AIDS response. As HIV is no longer a death sentence because antiretroviral treatment is now widely available, people living with HIV are not consulted and not brought to the policy table as much as was done in the past,” she said.
In a speech read on his behalf, Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu urged the Society to give the necessary support to Ghana in terms of developing its conference capacity to render it a reliable host of any future or global event.
“The least your coming on board can do is to build on the positive strides so far to enable us exceed our national and global targets through Africa-led innovation and home-grown approach,” he added.
Source: Daily guide By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri