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Govt acknowledges contributions towards Icasa

The Ministry of Health and Child Care hosted a luncheon to thank organisations that contributed towards the successful hosting of the 18th edition of the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (Icasa) held in December last year at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare. The conference has been described by the Icasa board as the best ever, in terms of coordination, content and attendance.

By Tadiwa Nyatanga-Pfupa

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Speaking at the function, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa applauded organisations for their participation that made the conference a resounding success.

“We did well but we must not lose sight of the work that still needs to be done, particularly among key populations and prevention of mother to child transmission [PMTCT], lest we find ourselves losing the gains made, because a child may be born HIV-negative, and contract the virus at nine years of age,” he said.

National Aids Council (NAC) board member Naume Mazango hailed the spirit of team work that Zimbabweans exhibited.

She quoted the great industrialist from Scotland, Andrew Carnegie: “Teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments towards a common objective. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Mazango told attendees that NAC led the bidding process that saw Zimbabwe hosting the conference.

“After winning the bid, we then mobilised resources from the National Aids Trust Fund to avail the required $733 000 as government commitment,” she said.

The amount was 20% of the budget required to fund the conference. An audit on these funds has since been done and the report can be found on the Icasa 2015 website.

After all expenses had been met, the net profit was shared as per memorandum of understanding. Zimbabwe got 45% of the profits, which amounted to $461 000 and Icasa got 55%.

“NAC being the co-ordinator of the response to HIV in Zimbabwe, will ensure that all that we learnt from other countries will be implemented so that we can end Aids by 2030,” Mazango said.

NAC chief executive officer, Tapuwa Magure said NAC was grateful for the opportunity to showcase its co-ordination role that Icasa provided.

“Every Zimbabwean who contributes towards the Aids levy made Icasa happen and we thank them because it is their money that partly funded the conference,” Magure said.

Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike spoke on behalf of the civil society in Zimbabwe.

He appreciated the role played by Parirenyatwa as co-chair of Icasa. Rusike stated that civil society had the opportunity to carry out their activities, such as marches, without hinderance.

“The relationship between government and civil society during the conference must also cascade to lower levels in our nation,” Rusike said.

In remarks read on his behalf, deputy chief secretary in the office of the President and Cabinet, Christian Katsande thanked all government departments for the sterling job they did before, during and after Icasa.

He hailed the police for managing traffic and crime during the period.

“There were very few cases of theft during the conference and most of the items that were stolen, were recovered,” he said.

All organisations, big and small, that took part in the conference received certificates of appreciation from the government.

l Tadiwa Nyatanga-Pfupa is the NAC communications officer.

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