Remarks by the Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. Douglas Mombeshora at the 2023 ICASA Curtain-raiser Press Conference on 8 November 2023webAdmin
- Director of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa Secretariat, Mr. Luc Armand Bodea,
- The National AIDS Council Acting Chief Executive Officer and Head of the ICASA Local Secretariat, Mr Raymond Yekeye,
- The Media,
- Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon to you all!
We are now less than a month away from Africa’s premier HIV and AIDS international conference, and we are very proud that Zimbabwe will be hosting this very important conference, starting 04 December and ending 09 December. I am therefore very excited to provide an update on the preparations.
We have continued to work hard as a country to ensure that all delegates attending the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa enjoy their visit to Zimbabwe, and experience a unique package of business and tourism.
All our systems from security, banking, accommodation, transportation, health and others have been checked and tested and I want to assure our visitors that Zimbabwe is ready. The security of delegates is guaranteed both in Harare and elsewhere as they go about attending the conference and enjoying our rich heritage across the world acclaimed tourist destinations.
We have also strengthened the health delivery and surveillance systems to ensure that our visitors and locals have access to needed health services. We have managed to adequately deal with the isolated outbreaks of Cholera that were reported some months ago. Let me emphasize that our surveillance system is exceptionally effective and has picked all cases, which have all since been treated.
We are very excited as a Government about the two high level meetings, which we are going to host on 02 December in Victoria Falls as part of the build-up towards the ICASA. We will have a meeting of the African First Ladies to be hosted by our First Lady, Her Excellency Dr. Auxilia Mnangagwa. This meeting will focus on addressing prevention of mother to child transmission and elimination of new born infections in Africa.
On the same day, we will also host the African Ministers of Finance, who will attend a meeting focusing on addressing domestic financing of the HIV response to reach the UN 2025 Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063. As you are aware, Zimbabwe has already been praised globally for the home-grown domestic funding initiative in the form of the National AIDS Trust Fund popularly known as the AIDS Levy. We are therefore very proud to be hosting this meeting to share our best practice while learning from the rest of the continent on other initiatives that altogether can increase Africa’s domestic financing of HIV and other epidemics, without totally relying on external funds.
These two meetings will come just a day after Zimbabwe will have commemorated the World AIDS Day, which we will do in Victoria Falls at Chinotimba Stadium. ICASA delegates who will already be in the country and are able to finance their trips to Victoria Falls are invited to attend the World AIDS Day Commemorations under the theme “Let Communities Lead”.
Logistically, we have engaged providers of public transport and agreed standard fares for ground transport in Harare during the conference. Designated passenger vehicles are being registered and will be marked to ensure that delegates have confidence when they use these vehicles. Pick-up and drop-off points shall also be marked for the convenience of our delegates. Zimbabwe has a steady in and outflow of airlines, which we are confident are adequate to cater for our visitors.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is very important for our visitors who require visas before travelling to apply for their visas on time. Those who need visas on arrival are also encouraged to ensure that they obtain letters from the Government of Zimbabwe assuring them that they will be granted visas on arrival.
Our providers of accommodation services are all ready and capable to meet the varied requirements of the visitors. Delegates are advised to finalize their accommodation arrangements before leaving their countries to avoid challenges.
I Thank You,