08th June 2016
New UNAIDS Regional Director visits CEPS
Dr Salvatore Niyonzima, UN Aids Regional Director for Seychelles was in Seychelles in May. As part of his visit he met with a delegation from CEPS. The visit is the first with CEPS, following Dr Niyonzima’s appointment in October 2015
Dr Niyonzima is familiar with the HIV/Aids situation in Seychelles, having attended the colloquium that took place in Seychelles last year. During this visit, he learnt of the works being carried out by civil society organizations in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Therefore as part of his opening remarks, he acknowledged civil society’s role in fast tracking the Aids response in Seychelles. He noted that civil society takes on the roles that government cannot take on and that it is civil society that meets with the various groups found to be most at risk. He further stated that as an ally of UNAIDS, civil society organizations are agents of change.
The CEPS Chairperson, Mr. Jules Hoareau welcomed the director and expressed his appreciation towards the fact that the works being done by civil society is being recognized by such a reputable organization.
Mr Hoareau talked about the various activities undertaken by civil society in the fight against HIV/Aids. He especially talked about the CEPS’ ‘Test & Treat Campaign’ undertaken by CEPS in two districts and the amount of people tested.
CEPS Board Secretary, Mrs Marie-Nella Azemia, explained that civil society has been active for a very long time in the battle against the disease. That the involvement of civil society in the promotion, education and discussion on HIV/Aids were poignant during a time when the disease was not well known by the population. She recounted how through meeting organized by civil society, two patients of the disease were encouraged to come out and become activist in the fight.
Dr Niyonzima has encouraged CEPS to continue supporting CSOs working to combat the disease along with stigmatization being faced by patients. He has pledged his support and that of UNAIDS.