Kigali, 16 March 2011

President Kagame today accepted an invitation from the UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr. Michel Sidibé to participate in the the 2011 UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS which will take place in New York in June. Speaking after the meeting, Dr. Sidibe said:

“This UN high level meeting is quite important because it is 30 years since the first AIDS case was discovered and 10 years of our commitment to universal access and declaration on AIDS and therefore important to have leaders like President Kagame who have demonstrated that we can still produce results for people living with HIV/AIDS and at the same time reinforce health systems in general. He has accepted to be there and to lead a new movement that will bring the debate on ownership and long term sustainability”.

Dr. Sidibe said that he also sought President Kagame’s support on ensuring that 10 million people who are waiting for treatment in the continent can have access and a long term approach for sustainability of programs:

“Rwanda is a model for us in attaining universal access and as you know, universal access is social justice because it means distribution of opportunities. Rwanda is almost reaching all people in need of treatment today and are now embarking on innovative means of prevention – circumcision of two million people before 2012 will certainly be a major breakthrough. If Rwanda can achieve this, why not other countries?”

The Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera said that the discussions between President Kagame and the UNAIDS Executive examined the future of the global HIV/AIDS fight in of the context of current financial challenges:

“Our approach is to see HIV/AIDS as a general health menace and handle it in an integrated way as we also continue to look for innovative ways of preventing it. Rwanda will be able to make her contribution during the New York meeting on ways of accelerating progress and forging global solidarity and partnership to ensure the fight against HIV/AIDS is sustained”.