On the 1st December 2017, globally recognised as World AIDS Day, the Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Council (NAC) and other partners, organised a local campaign to mark 30 years since the first case of HIV was detected in Seychelles and the country actively begun the fight against the disease.
As from 1.30 in the afternoon, more than 20 staff of the Ministry of Health and other organisations came together in a solidarity march, from the Mont Fleuri campus to the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS).
Also participating in the march was the Designated Minister, Mrs Macsuzy Mondon, the Minister for Health, Mr Jean Paul Adam, the Minister for Family Affairs, Mrs Jeanne Simeon, the Principal Secretary for Health, Dr Bernard Valentin, the WHO Liaison Officer, Dr Tenin Gakuruh, and the Chairperson of the National AIDS Council Board, Mrs Peggy Vidot.
Launching the activity, Mrs Vidot thanked the large group who responded to the call to unite against the disease.
“Globally, the 1st December is always commemorated as World AIDS Day. In Seychelles we continuously join the global community to honour everyone who are infected and affected by the HIV virus.” Mrs Vidot said. “It also an opportunity for us to remember those who have died because of this disease.”
Participants walked along Riverside, and ended at ICCS where the Minister for Health officially launched the ‘Right to Health Campaign’.
“Three decades after the first case of HIV was detected in Seychelles, the world continues to recognise our country for the remarkable progress we have made in keeping the prevalence of HIV relatively low in our general population, in proving free antiretroviral treatment to everyone and in arresting mother to child transmission of HIV transmission,” Minister Adam said, commending the successes in the fight against HIV thus far.
However, he did not overlook the unmet needs that need to be tackled to end the epidemic by 2030, especially with this year’s theme for World AIDS Day, ‘My Health, My Right’. “More and more, we are devising programs to reach deeper into communities to find challenges wherever they may be,” he added.
The quantity, quality and frequency of health services for the prison population has been increased. In addition, existing programs that exist for the LGBTQ community and sex workers are also being reviewed.
“We understand absolutely that the right to health must be consolidated on the premise of equity giving everybody and fair opportunity to promote, protect and restore their own health,” Minister Adam concluded.
The ceremony continued with a testimonial from Mr Reginald Hoareau, on living with HIV/AIDS for 22 years and viewing health not just as a right but also a responsibility, the lighting of the ceremonial candle by Mrs Mondon.