Agenda 3 – intervention by Musah Lumumbah, African delegate

Thank you madam Chair.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my last PCB meeting as an NGO delegate from Africa, a region most impacted by the epidemic. And as such, I have keen interest in these discussions, which might have profound impact back home.

First, I need to reiterate that, there should be no tolerance to abuse, harassment or bullying of any form!!

There was a time where I come from, when many of our loved ones died in large numbers just because life saving ART wasn’t available for free, and worse still, those who managed to pay, never survived long as mono-therapy treatment weren’t as effective.

Many children were born with HIV as PMTCT by then was not available. Key Populations never had a place to call home, no access to HIV and other health related services, no one stood for them. HIV and AIDS was recognised as a disease for bad people and even considered as a punishment from God.

In 2018, voices of the most vulnerable have been amplified, young people living with HIV are attending school and growing into responsible people. Women living with HIV are now able to nurse babies free of HIV and exclusive breastfeeding is now the best option for newborns who are HIV exposed.

In previously hostile environments, KPs now have a right to access services and have capacity to contribute to the response in their communities.

Increasingly, policies and programmes are now responsive to our needs, the political commitment across Africa and the rest of the world is steadyfast to end AIDS.

Important to note today, are challenges and issues that the Independent Expert Panel report points out,work that is not done yet. We must all address the issues raised which if not-will have a profound impact beyond UNAIDS as an institution.

My question therefore is, Are we hungry for ANY action, or, we can cautiously and honestly, deliberate in order to find a workable long lasting solution?

Madam Chair, there is a need for dialogue, taking into consideration REAL sensitivities, PROFOUND cultural differences and lived experiences that reflect diverse life situations and livelihoods.

It should be on record that “it’s not our diversity which divides us, it’s not our ethnicity or religion or culture that divides us, since we have reached this place together. Recognizing that we honestly have miles to go to achieve not only and end to AIDS-but also to fully attend to the serious concerns highlighted in the report.

There can only be one next step amongst us, it is to look closely at what we need and not compromise. At the same time we must cherish the opportunity to do this next work together. Working toward, transparency, dialogue, collaboration and healing.

Allow me to remind everyone including myself, the togetherness and the spirit of collective responsibility that has enabled us to reach this far. The politics should not divide us, but rather serve to open windows for healing, reflection, team work and renewed energy for a better UNAIDS as a joint programme, for an impactful response.

My life, even in 2018 depends on it. Let’s choose life together.

43rd PCB

Agenda item 3

Delivered by Musah Lumumbah, NGO Africa


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