Amidst COVID-19: World AIDS Day Commemoration Goes Ahead
Manzini proudly selected as the host city for the event.
Notwithstanding the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Kingdom of Eswatini will next month join the rest of the globe in commemorating the International World Aids Day. However, this will be done under strict Covid-19 protocols. Held on the first of December of every year, the significance of commemoration of World Aids Day is to sensitise members of the public about the HIV and AIDS pandemic and to garner support from all stakeholders including national governments, the donor community and the business sector. It is also a time to honour the lives of the people that have passed away as a result of the virus as well as to show support to those that are effected and infected. Furthermore, it is a time to reflect on the milestones that have been achieved in the fight against the disease. It is also during this period that stakeholders go back to the drawing board and strategise on the way forward. The event will this year be held in the City of Manzini, at The George Hotel, and all protocols that have been put in place by the national Government to suppress the spread of Covid-19 will be observed. This year’s theme is Global Solidarity – Shared Responsibility. As the City of Manzini we are proud to have been selected as the host city for such an important event and we commit to working together with the Manzini Regional Multi-Sectoral HIV/AIDS Coordination Committee (REMSHACC) towards ensuring it becomes the desired success. It is also important to mention that the Manzini Municipal AIDS Programme has been a member of the REMSHACC for quite some time and has collaborated with the committee at many levels towards the delivery of relevant HIV and AIDS services to the City of Manzini.
…UNPACKING THIS YEAR’S THEME
Unpacking this year’s theme (Global Solidarity – Shared Responsibility), the UNAIDS, in their website, states that global solidarity and shared responsibility require us to view global health responses, including the AIDS response, in a new way. It requires the world to come together and ensure that:
- Health is fully financed
Governments must come together and find new ways to ensure that health care is fully funded. No one country can do it alone. Domestic and international funding for health must be increased.
- Health systems are strengthened
Investments in the AIDS response in the past few decades have helped to strengthen health systems and have been supporting the Covid-19 response. But more needs to be done to further strengthen health systems and protect health-care workers.
- Access is ensured
Life-saving medicines, vaccines and diagnostics must be considered as public goods. There must be global solidarity and shared responsibility to ensure that no individual, community or country is left behind in accessing life-saving health commodities.
- Human rights are respected
A human rights approach applied everywhere will produce sustainable results for health. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fault lines in society and how key populations have been left behind in many parts of the world.
- The rights of women and girls, and gender equality, are at the centre
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected women’s livelihoods, which have been disproportionally affected by lockdown measures and lockdowns have resulted in an increase in violence against women in household settings. Women must be included in decision-making processes that affect their lives. The world cannot afford rollbacks in decades of hard-won gains in gender equality.
…LAMVELASE HELP CENTRE: MANZINI’S FLAGSHIP HIV/AIDS PROJECT
The Municipal Council of Manzini, in partnership with a number of partners, has since way back in 2005 been running a comprehensive and successful Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Clinic within the bustling city’s Central Business District. The Clinic, which has over the years grown in leaps and bounds and become a flagship HIV and AIDS centre, was established in partnership with the Ministry of Health, AMICAALL-Eswatini, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Population Services International (PSI) and the Family Life Association of Swaziland (FLAS). Starting off only as a pilot project, with the target being a maximum of 500 clients predominantly from the city’s business sector, the demand for its services has been increasing year after year and today the clinic has over 16 000 clients who come from all the regions of the Kingdom of Eswatini. The clinic’s service offering includes Antiretroviral Therapy, treatment of opportunistic infections, TB testing and treatment, Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) as well as testing and treatment of diabetes for registered clients only. The LaMvelase Help Centre today stands as the largest stand-alone HIV Clinic in the country and is preferred by many due to the comprehensive services that are provided under one roof. As a result of the ever increasing clientele, an expansion of the clinic is in the pipeline. The Municipality is forever grateful to its collaborating partners for having achieved a partnership that works like a well-oiled machine. As a city we remain committed to His Majesty’s vision of an AIDS free Eswatini by 2022 and we believe that the country is on course to realising that vision.
…LAMVELASE’S MESSAGE TO CLIENTS
- Get tested today. HIV is still a serious public health threat even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Always have your face mask on to protect the healthcare worker and yourself when accessing services.
- We are open on weekdays (Monday to Fridays) 7am to 5pm.
- We wish you a happy and safe festive season.