The First Lady Jeannette Kagame, has urged Rwandans to join hands for an HIV free country.
She made this call while launching the “Free to Shine Rwanda” Campaign, an initiative of the organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), aiming at reducing the Mother-to-Child Transmission (MTCT) by 2030.
“The country resolved that no Rwandan should lose life whenever it is possible to be protected,” the First Lady told thousands of youth, health counselors, local leaders and partners in fighting against HIV/AIDS in Kigali on Monday.
“Through this campaign, African Union (AU) and OAFLA are determined for a HIV free in infants in Africa by 2030, but for Rwanda you know we never wait for deadlines”, she said.
“A free HIV Rwanda is possible. ‘My child, my pride’, should be a contract performance for every parent.”
The First Lady also advised parents living with HIV and whose children were also born infected to dare explain to them their status and why the reason why they are on anti-retroviral medicine, a way of fighting stigma.
“When they get to know by themselves, they get traumatized and completely lose hope,” the First Lady said.
Mrs Kagame commended partners in fighting against HIV for their support to contribute to zero new infection by 2020 in Rwanda and to the eradication of it by 2030.
For the First Lady, the interventions and resources powered into initiatives geared towards reducing new infections have helped to reduce the national prevalence rate from double digit number to 3%.
“It is therefore imperative that we keep the momentum and remember that compliance is in fact a significant right in the fight against the HIV epidemic,” she said.
Meanwhile, Karongi and Burera Districts have been recognized for having hit the target of zero case of MTCT for the last five years while the City of Kigali comes top on HIV prevalence.
HIV prevalence in the City of Kigali is 6.3% compared to 3% nationwide.
According to Dr Diane Gashumba, Rwanda Minister of Health, 97% of health centers in Rwanda offer MTCT services.
“Together with health counselors, this contributed to performing beyond record for MTCT prevalence since we are at 1.5% against the target of 2% by 2015,” she said.
In 2011 the First Lady of Rwanda, Jeannette Kagame, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, PEPFAR and UNICEF, launched a national campaign for the Elimination of Mother-to Child-Transmission with an ambition to reduce mother-to-child transmission in Rwanda from 4.3% in 2011 and to less than 2% in 2015.