A team from the Society for Aids in Africa (SAA) left the country yesterday after carrying out an assessment of Zimbabwe’s capabicity to hold the 22nd edition of the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA) conference in 2023.
The delegates comprised the director for the SAA Luc Armand H. Bodea and two board members from Mali and Uganda.
Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Health and Child Care minister welcomed the delegation and introduced them to President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week.
Chiwenga expressed confidence in Zimbabwe’s capacity to host the conference as part of it’s response to HIV and Aids.
“We think we have the capacity to hold this conference because we would want to finish and end the issue of Aids by 2030.For us to end this, we as Africans must be united in this fight together, and this is the importance of this conference,” he said.
Chiwenga supported the choice of Victoria Falls as a venue, saying other huge events have been held there before
“We have offered that we will hold this conference in Victoria Falls, which has held big conferences like the UNWTO and other conferences of a high magnitude,” he said.
“We have got all the facilities and Victoria Falls is no longer a town, but a city, it has a city status.”
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Chiwenga assured that government would assist in the hosting of the conference.
“We have made our commitments to the team that the Zimbabwean government would, as we did in 2015, make our contributions towards financial and technical support,” he said.
Zimbabwe is one of the three countries that had placed their bids before August 5, but Uganda pulled out of the race at the 11th hour leaving Zimbabwe and Kenya.
“We were here in 2015 when we organised ICASA and it was well organised,” Bodea told journalists upon arrival at Robert Mugabe International Airport on Wednesday.
“I have noticed that there are a lot of improvements going on at the airport and we hope that we will see more.”
He, however, warned of a stiff competition having assessed Kenya last week.
“Kenya is up to their bid and we believe that we will see better things here, the competition is stiff,” Bodea said.
“The commitment of governments is also key in the assessments.”
Bodea urged members of the media to play their part in informing the general public about ICASa
“ICASA can not be a success if the media do not dissect the information across the world and informing them that the next ICASA will be in December 2023,” he said.
Zimbabwe hosted the 15th edition of ICASA in 2015 which ran under the theme HIV and Aids in Post 2015 era: Linking Science, Leadership and Human rights and Mnangagwa who was vice-president then, officially opened the conference.
Hosting ICASA presents an opportunity for Zimbabwe to showcase its strides in the HIV and Aids and STIs response.
The National Aids Council was leading the delegation.