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Zimbabweans Attend UN Meeting Aimed At Ending AIDS

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon says ending the AIDS epidemic is a crucial part of achieving sustainable development goals.

A high-level delegation led by Health Minister David Parirenyatwa is in New York for an annual meeting at the United Nations General Assembly, which started Wednesday and ends Friday.

Some people living with HIV/AIDS, representatives of the National Aids Council, parliamentarians, representatives of civic society groups like the Southern Africa HIV/AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) are among Zimbabweans attending the meeting.

A statement issued by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the UN website said, “Ending the AIDS epidemic is a crucial part of achieving the sustainable development goals. The 2016 United Nations General Assembly high level meeting on ending AIDS can help close the gap between needs and services and advance our efforts to leave on one behind."

SAFAIDS director Lois Chingandu told VOA Studio 7 she is happy with the commitment shown by the Zimbabwean government in fighting HIV/AIDS despite the challenging economic situation in the country.

"Our biggest hope is to see a continued commitment to fight HIV/AIDS particularly by the governments of our countries and of the region," said Chingandu.

According to the United Nations, in 2015 the number of people accessing antiretroviral therapy worldwide reached nearly 16 million - double the number just five years earlier.

Chingandu said despite the declining economy in the country there are indications that the government is continuing with its obligation to fight HIV/AIDS using the monhtly AIDS levy.

"We have no doubt on government commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS because if we look historically even when Zimbabwe was at its lowest in the past five years the government has never gone back on its commitment on the national AIDS fund. We anticipate and have been assured that that commitment is going to continue irrespective of what is going on in the country,” said Chingandu.

Interview With Louis Chingandu
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