Eswatini joined the world in World AIDS Day commemoration which was held at Ezulwini Sun Hotel on the 1st December 2019. The event which was attended by over three thousand people, began on a high note with a march from the Corner Plaza, led by the three uniformed forces, namely; Umbutfo Eswatini Defense Force (EUDF), Royal Eswatini Police (REP) and the Correctional Services. The march was followed by aerobics which saw most of the participants joining and exercising. The World AIDS Commemoration this year was under the theme “Communities make the difference” which recognizes the essential role that communities have played and continue to play, as well as seeks to mobilize communities to accelerate towards the ending of AIDS.
His Excellency, the Right Honourable Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini was the guest speaker of the day and represented by the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Honourable Themba Masuku. In his address, the PM noted that the country was on the right track towards ending AIDS, observing that it was critical to accelerate the uptake of HIV services to further reduce HIV infections among men, adolescents, young women between 15 to 24 years and among key populations at substantive risk of HIV infection, in order to achieve the target of ending AIDS within the set timeframe. He further urged the country to strengthen prevention saying there is an urgent need to close the tap. “It is worrisome to note that there are still about 7 000 new HIV infections every year,” he said. He also acknowledged Their Majesties whose personal commitment and wise leadership in the HIV and AIDS response has created an enabling environment for all the positive progress made thus far, he said.
Other speakers were Her Excellency Ms. Lisa Peterson, the USA Ambassador to Eswatini who pledged continued support by US government to HIV/AIDS programmes in the country (see more), and the UN Resident Coordinator Dr Nathalie Ndongo who congratulated Emaswati for the great strides they have achieved in the HIV fight.
Ezulwini Town Mayor, Ms. Bongile Mbingo also made remarks (See more) and Mr. Bheki Hlatshwayo who spoke on behalf of People Living with HIV (PLHVI), thanked the government of Eswatini for supporting the PLHIV. There was also a presentation of statement by representatives of the different communities on their role to accelerating towards ending AIDS. Students from neighbouring schools provided edutainment in the form of drama, dance, music and poems. Members of the community presented traditional dances and there was also gospel music which kept the audience entertained throughout. (see more)