LILONGWE--A week-long Global Race to Save Life international conference seeking to drum up support towards zero new HIV/AIDS infection and zero stigma and discrimination is underway in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe with a call on politicians and faith leaders to join the fight against the scourge.
Malawi is hosting the conference as one of the star performers in AID/AIDS programming, according to Ugandan Christian Aid Goodwill HIV/AIDS Ambassador, cleric Dr. Gideon Byamugisha.
Delegates to the conference discussing how to achieve zero HIV/AIDS and related deaths.
Speaking at the function, Malawi’s National Assembly Speaker, Henry Chimunthu Banda, urged the faith community and politicians to put their efforts together to combat HIV/AIDS.
“Local people from Nkhotakota district know that HIV/AIDS has teamed up with malaria to kill off humankind. We too, politicians and faith leaders, must team up to formulate a strong front against this scourge," Banda, lawmaker from Nkhotakota, told the gathering at the Bingu wa Mutharika International Conference Centre where participants include law makers and faith leaders from around the world.
MCC Board Chairperson Bishop Dr. Joseph Bvumbwe asked the participants “Have We Done Enough on the Three Zeros?
"Honestly the answer is a big NO. We cannot claim complete success as this stage. Yes we have and still doing something but we have not done enough.
"Let this conference be the voice of those suffering, those affected and infected. We are all infected and affected, by the way,” he said.
The Bishop also expressed gratitude with World Health Organization’s resolution to start administering new ARVs drugs, which are said to have fewer side effects.
Dr. Byamugisha, who is HIV positive, said: “We want to do way with stigma, shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and mis-action when handling brothers and sisters affected infected and affected by the scourge.”
Archbishop Rev. Lwanje of Rwanda said the gathering would also give people an opportunity to hear how conflict has helped fuel and promote HIV infections.
"It saddens me that most of the HIV and AIDS cases amongst women and children in Rwanda were a result of rape during the genocide," he said.
Somalia, Indonesia, West America, Uganda, Rwanda, Geneva, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and host Malawi are among countries participating and seeking to promote the Global Race to Save Life initiative.
The theme for the conference, organized by the International Faith Community in conjunction with MCC, is ‘Thus Far We Have Come in the Journey Towards the Three Zeros: We are Thankful and In Need.’
---(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited