Some experts, world leaders, and stars around the world have called for the dramatic reduction in price of the ground-breaking new HIV medicines, to ensure global accessibility to all who need them.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some of the advocates included Nobel laureates Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Joseph Stiglitz, former President of Malawi, Dr Joyce Banda and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.Others are artistes Olly Alexander (singer and actor), Stephen Fry (actor, writer, and presenter), Adam Lambert (singer and songwriter), David Oyelowo (actor, producer, director) and Arnaud Valois (actor).Also, business leaders Mo Ibrahim and Paul Polman are amongst those who have joined the call in an open letter.The letter was published in the run up to the International AIDS Conference, which opened in Montreal on July 29. “ AIDS pandemic continues to take a life every minute, and new HIV infections are rising in too many communities.“The breakthrough long-acting medicine only has to be taken every few months and is proving to be one of the most effective methods to prevent HIV transmission.“In addition to the prevention tool available now, long-acting antiretrovirals could one day be part of revolutionizing treatment to prevent deaths.“But these medicines are currently only available in high-income countries at a price of tens of thousands of dollars – far out of reach for people and governments in low- and middle-income countries.“People in these countries need them most,’’ they said in the letter.The advocates said that these long-acting HIV medicines could enable millions of adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa to protect themselves from acquiring HIV.According to them, they can enable people from marginalised communities including gay men, transgender people, and sex workers, to receive a discreet injection every few months to protect themselves.The letter called on ViiV, one of the world’s largest HIV pharmaceutical companies, to share their technology and know-how to boost production and set their price at a point where all countries could afford to buy these medicines.In particular, it called on ViiV to tackle the barriers to access by taking some steps.“Announce a lower price for the long-acting injectable ARV for prevention, CAB-LA, as close as possible to that of other HIV prevention medicines (PrEP).“The current best PrEP option is approximately $60 per person per year.Make the price public and transparent, and include the cost of the accompanying syringe.“Quickly finalise licences to produce generic versions of this long-acting ARV through the Medicines Patent Pool. “Licence across the world’s low- and middle-income countries on a non-exclusive basis, with a broad geographic scope for both treatment and prevention.“Share know-how and technology.Enable producers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern and Central Europe and beyond to seek transfer and begin producing.“Commit to making enough to meet demand until generic producers come online.’’ Lilian Mworeko, Regional Coordinator of the International Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA), said: “While many in the global North are getting access to long-acting HIV prevention tools and medicines, Africans are overwhelmingly denied the opportunity.“It is worse for groups who continue to be left behind like adolescent girls and young women.“ As long as the price is unaffordably high for our governments and for funders to purchase, we will continue to be locked out from being able to access them.“They are vital to preventing new HIV infections and they could become transformational in treatment.“Our message is simple: all of our lives matter,’’ she said.As the global HIV response has come under strain from the COVID-19 crisis and the Ukraine war, ensuring rapid, affordable and equitable access to these medicines has become even more urgent.The signatories to the letter stressed that they could and must be made available to everyone, regardless of the passport they hold or the money in their pocket.They said that the new medicines present a remarkable opportunity to avoid the scientific and policy mistakes that defined the early years of AIDS whereby after the first antiretroviral HIV drugs received approval, prohibitive costs meant they were out of reach in the global South.They said that millions died and that the failings were not due to scientific or technical limitations but as the result of conscious choices about how medical innovation and access to health tools were organised and financed.“It is within ViiV’s power to ensure that millions more people around the world are able to benefit from the incredible technical advances that have gone into this new medicine.“If countries know that it is available at an affordable price, they will be able to prioritise the purchase of it from their health budgets and to make it available to all who need it,’’ said Deborah Gold, CEO of the National Aids Trust.Also, Dr Ayoade Alakija, Co-Chair of the Africa Union Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance for COVID-19 , remarked.“There is a choice about how new medicines are launched into the global market in terms of whether they are available to everyone, everywhere.“The limitations are less to do with scientific or technical challenges and much more to do with how medical innovation and access to health countermeasures are currently organised and financed to favour the rich and reinforce inequity.’’ The International AIDS Conference, is taking place in Montreal from July 29 to Aug. 2, 2022. It offers an historic opportunity for ViiV to stand with world leaders, civil society and people living with and at risk of HIV from around the world and pledge actions that will save lives and accelerate efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. The World Health Organisation will release new guidelines on CAB-LA – the new medicines – at the conference.Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said: “The stakes are high.40 million people around the world are living with HIV today, and around 1.5 million people were newly infected in 2020 alone.“This is an issue of inequality.“Will these new medicines help us break down the inequalities driving the AIDS pandemic – affordable and available for those who need them most?Or will they stay out of reach?“The pharmaceutical industry has the opportunity to make medicines affordable and accessible to people in all countries, including so-called middle-income countries – through sharing technologies and setting an affordable price today until those generics come online.”NewsSourceCredit: NAN
The role women should play in shaping Africa's present and future was a key theme for speakers at the Women Heads of State Initiative, convened jointly by Africa.com and Coca-Cola Africa. The event introduced the world to the 22 women who have served as president or prime minister of an African country, five of whom spoke at the event. The virtual event featured talks from current and former heads of state, as well as thought leaders, who drew a picture of where African states should focus if they want to move the continent forward.
Women Heads of State Initiative: https://bit.ly/3IQtqKt
Promoting equity in women's leadership in government
Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was one of the featured leaders at the event. Her interpretation of her legacy that she built in her country, at a time when women in African politics was still a novel idea, made the audience participate in some of her decisions when she was at the command of her. On her reflections on the role that the female electorate plays in shaping discourse and politics, she said: “Women's leadership and decision-making must come from the people affected by those policies. It should be the women from below who dictate those policies.” Former Malawi President Joyce Banda praised Africa for championing women in decision-making at the highest levels of government. In her remarks, she said that Africa had a good story to tell in key priority areas, such as reducing maternal mortality, bringing more girls into the school system, and creating initiatives that identify women leaders in the executive, judicial, and legislature of African countries. However, she pointed out that keeping women in these roles has been the challenge that the continent must solve.
A platform to share lessons on the advancement of the continent
Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuungonelwa-Amadilha's session discussed how creating strong government policies to harness the continent's natural resources would be the engine of economic change among women and youth. “To make these benefits a reality, we need to optimize the management of our natural resources through effective governance, promote skills among our young people, so that they promote development and participate in the use of the natural resources that we have and also benefit from them. , as well as promoting industrialization by adding value to our natural resources”, he said.
One of the threads that ran through each speaker's session was how Africa's growth prospects could not be achieved if women remained at the bottom of the food chain. The former President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, discussed the role that youth, and in particular young women, can play in agribusiness. She said that the stereotypical image of women carrying children on their backs and working the land could be replaced by women as drivers of agribusiness, if technology and technical skills transfer were done properly. He said Africa has the potential to become the world's breadbasket if the continent's traditional foods such as teff and sorghum (all dubbed superfoods by nutritionists) are properly grown to alleviate chronic hunger and poverty in many rural communities in Africa. the entire continent. By taking full advantage of African Continental Free Trade Area policies, agribusinesses could provide sustainable income to communities and unlock other sectors in the value chain. An initiative that has taken shape in Malawi through Banda's grassroots initiative to help women reap the economic benefits of growing chillies, getting a fair price for their produce and developing sustainable agribusiness. “As past presidents, once we leave office, we must continue to engage with people to transform their lives and realize their full potential,” she said.
22 African women heads of state
The event also paid tribute to 22 African heads of state who have served as president or prime minister since 1970 in a short documentary (https://bit.ly/3J3Rlq1) premiered at the Summit. Africa.com defines women heads of state as women who have served as president or prime minister, including heads of state and heads of government. Women must have been elected or appointed since 1970 and have served for a minimum of three months. Female monarchs are not included. Africa.com's research identified 22 women who meet this criteria.
For more information and to watch the full video replay of the Women Heads of State summit, visit WomenHeadsOfState.africa.com
By Ariyo Ibironke The International Forum of Migration Journalists (JIFORM) on Friday unveiled the registration portal for its planned third global migration summit in Niagara Falls, Canada.
This is contained in a statement by Mr. Ajibola Abayomi, President of JIFORM comprising over 300 journalists covering migration across continents, in Abuja.
He asked interested candidates to log on to www.jiformalert.org to register for the event which will take place between November 29 and December 6.
Abayomi said conference speakers included former Malawi president Dr Joyce Banda; former Canadian Secretary of State and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Gerry Weiner and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
Professor Patrick Lumumba from Kenya, Global Director, Disapora Innovation Institute, City University, New York City, USA, Professor Byron Price and the African Union Labor Migration Advisory Committee, the Dr Princess Kabuki Ocansey from Ghana.
The others are the Honorable Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, Chairman of the Nigerian House of Representatives Committee on Disability Issues; Williams Goiz, Regional Director, Malaysia Migration Forum; and Ms. Johanna Mac from the Eric Broost Institute, University of Dortmund, Germany.
Some of the participating agencies are the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) Malaysia and others.
The theme of the 2021 Migration Summit will be x-rayed by Professor Price tagged Exploring the Benefits of Post-COVID-19 Migration for Retool Global is powered by JIFORM in partnership with ALTEC Global Inc, Toronto, Canada.
Other facilitators are Home for the Needy, Edo State, Nigeria, Global Cynergies LLC Toronto, Canada and the Diaspora Innovation Institute, Federal University of Technology, Akure Ondo State, Nigeria. (NOPE)
Former Malawi President Joyce Banda will return home on Saturday afterspending more than three years in self-imposed exile because of graft allegations, a spokesman for her
political party said.
Cashgate, a corruption scandal in which senior government officials siphoned millions of dollars from
state coffers, was uncovered in 2013, while she was president.
Donor countries cut off aid, hampered development in Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and most aid-dependent
Banda, Malawi’s first female president, lost elections to Peter Mutharika a year later.
Facing allegations of abuse of office and money laundering, which she denied, she left the country, and
has not been back since.
“I can confirm that as a party we have received communication from the office of the former president that
she arrives back in Malawi on Saturday to stay,” said a People’s Party deputy spokesman, Ackson Kaliyile.
In July 2017, police issued an arrest warrant against Banda, saying her alleged offences were part of Cashgate.
In January, the Anti-Corruption Bureau said it had no solid evidence against her, partly clearing her of wrongdoing.
Police have not publicly said whether charges had been dropped.
A police spokesman said the police would make no comment on the matter until Banda was back in the country.
A former justice minister and attorney-general were convicted over Cashgate, along with a number of former
high-ranking government officials and business people.
Banda has been living in the U.S., serving as a distinguished fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Centre and the Centre
for Global Development in Washington DC.