Dear Mr. Sidibé,
First of all, I am much grateful for your last visit to Mauritius on the 17th April 2014, the first visit from a UNAIDS director since the last 20 years. This meeting left Civil Society Organisations, people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS – key affected populations including sex workers, drug users, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders and mothers living with HIV – with a parcel of hope that in Mauritius we can reach Objectif Zéro.
I wish to quote from your interview in Le Mauricien of 22 April 2014 [Link: http://www.lemauricien.com/article/visite-officielle-michel-sidibe-directeur-lonusida-et-sous-secretaire-general-des-nu-maurice]:
N’est-il pas encore trop tôt de dire que Maurice pourrait être parmi les premiers pays à réussir la zéro-transmission, la zéro-discrimination et le zéro-décès lié au VIH ?
Je ne le pense pas parce que Maurice n’a 10 000 personnes infectées environ, dont la moitié a besoin d’être traitées. En Afrique du Sud, on met 2,1 millions de personnes sous traitement. Je ne vois pas comment Maurice ne pourrait le faire pour 5 000 personnes. On n’aura plus de décès lié au VIH , et il y aura une réduction des nouvelles infections.
Yet, among the strong leadership that you portray and project, I must say that I am deeply troubled by UNAIDS publication: “2016 High-Level meeting on ending AIDS – Fast-Track to ending AIDS” as attachment to this mail [Follow link: 20 2016 High-Level Meeting on ending AIDS – Fast-Track to ending AIDS ]
If not for the Men who have Sex with Men Global Forum open letter addressed to you available at: http://msmgf.org/unaids-sets-dangerous-precedent-weak-messaging-high-level-meeting/ , I would not have been able to come across the document and I thank them for raising the red flag.
I must say: You, sincerely and bold speaking, tackling issues head-on has been a determining leverage in the fight against AIDS. A strong leadership makes the difference. Yet, concerning SDGs, the leadership seemed to be failing and the tone seemed to have been watered down. And so, I agree with MSMGF open letter addressed to you.
The people affected and infected needs to be placed at the center of messaging and interventions. Health rights; including access to care, medication, treatment, support – medical or social – are human rights!
SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) approaches; even fast-track ones, need to be taken. Thus, we cannot have an over-simplified and much general and lacking in substance publication for the SDGs. For my queries are:
- What specific populations will actors against AIDS target and with what specific interventions?
- How to measure the effectiveness of interventions?
- How to ensure that we can achieve our goals if we are not specific in our targets?
- Will our designed interventions be realistic ones that will have accountability; that is, resources, expertise and interventions go to the targeted populations?
- How to design realistic time-bound interventions if we are not specifying the populations?
- We have facts and figures – so many have been generated and documented – evidence based information
- We have commitment from CSOs and NGOs and CBOs and so many activists and actors who are in the fight, and we are achieving targets – some of which are highlighted in the Fast track publication.
- Various interventions are being developed and are working – though not accessible and some not available in various places around the world.
90-90-90 by 2020 and 95-95-95 by 2030 is achievable. Nonetheless each year lost in half-engaging actions is pushing the objectives further!
We need leadership, a strong head-on leadership to address same. For instance, recently, the Director of the World Bank opened up about actions of the World Bank that prevented homophobic laws in Uganda [Link: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/03/03/world-bank-wont-fund-projects-in-developing-countries-that-endanger-lgbt-people/]
Concerning HIV and AIDS, who better placed than you and your office to give the direction?
My plea to you is to redress the situation to ensure that the fight against AIDS has a strong and committed backbone, including in the SDGs. Our actions, our documents our speeches, need to include homosexuals, bisexuals, transgenders, people living with HIV, mothers living with HIV, drug users, sex workers and so many more while not forgetting the general population, service providers, etc. we work in and with.
I trust you and your office for doing the needful.
Thanking you beforehand.
FOKEERBUX Najeeb A.