WORLD AIDS DAY: Obaseki urges increased global push to end inequalities, other barriers impeding end to pandemic

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for increased effort among global stakeholders to end all forms of inequalities and other barriers that hinder the progress recorded in the campaign to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Obaseki made the call in commemoration of the 2022 World AIDS Day with the theme, ‘Equalize.’ The event is marked each year by the United Nations and its sister agencies to create awareness and support for people living with and affected by HIV and remember those who lost their lives to AIDS.

Obaseki, who restated his government’s commitment to sustain sensitization campaigns and other programmes to ensure the realization of the global goal to end the pandemic by 2030, said his administration has repositioned the Edo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (EDOSACA), equipping the agency with the right tools and manpower to complement its efforts in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDs and provide support to persons living with the disease.

The governor stated, “This year’s World AIDS Day provides yet another fine opportunity to review global efforts towards achieving the goal of ridding the world of the HIV/AIDS pandemic by 2030.

“While we must acknowledge and commend stakeholders for the progress recorded in the campaign to end the disease, there is the need to strengthen reforms, sustain programmes and address the inequalities that pose as barriers in realizing the 2030 target. We must now ensure an improved awareness programmes to end the discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS, increased access to funding, as well as prevention, treatment and other health services that facilitate the campaign to end this dreadful scourge.”

He continued: “As a government, we are committed to the health and welfare of persons living with HIV/AIDS and have undertaken a number of reforms to ensure improved access to healthcare services so as to guarantee their wellbeing and combat the pandemic.

“We have reconstituted the board of EDOSACA so that they can live up to their mandate. We are providing support to the agency to play its roles in a number of our health intervention programmes, ensuring that they are well-positioned to provide support to those who live with HIV/AIDS.”

According to the United Nations,“We have only eight years left before the 2030 goal of ending AIDS as a global health threat. Economic, social, cultural and legal inequalities must be addressed as a matter of urgency. In a pandemic, inequalities exacerbate the dangers for everyone. Indeed, the end of AIDS can only be achieved if we tackle the inequalities which drive it. World leaders need to act with bold and accountable leadership. And all of us, everywhere, must do all we can to help tackle inequalities too.”