Director of UNESCO Dakar praises Senegal’s strong commitment to fight HIV and AIDS
“It is thanks to strong political will that Senegal has achieved good results in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” said Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta during a celebration of World AIDS Day today (1 Dec 2011).
The celebration took place in Ziguinchor in the Casamance region of Senegal in the presence of the Senegalese First Lady, Mrs. Viviane Wade and the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms Bintou Djibo.
The UNESCO Director welcomed the choice of venue for the celebration, as Ziguinchor is one of Senegal’s most affected regions in terms of HIV and AIDS (with a HIV prevalence among adults of 1.7 percent).
The overall prevalence in Senegal is 0.3 percent.
Appeal to all men
Mrs. Ndong-Jatta applauded the First Lady’s action in working towards eliminating mother to child transmission.
“Today, it is possible to stop the infection of newborns with HIV and to preserve the lives of their mothers when pregnant women have early access to prevention and care,” she said.
The UNESCO Director added that to do this, socio-cultural barriers that hinder progress must disappear.
“These barriers are mostly made by men, and I would like to appeal to all men, especially those in the region, to participate in this ongoing transformation to avoid that they become accomplices despite themselves,” she said.
No worries about Senegal
“The UN system has no specific concerns about Senegal, as the country as always achieved good results in the fight against HIV and progress is being made to curb mother to child transmission,” noted Mrs. Ndong-Jatta, who chairs the Joint United Nations Team on AIDS in Senegal.
UNESCO’s Office in Dakar is today celebrating World AIDS Day. A 5 meter long red ribbon decorates the façade of the UNESCO building and an event to sensitize UNESCO colleagues to the prevention of HIV will take place in the afternoon.