COMING UP – Handicap International at the 18th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa | November 23, 2015

The International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, the annual meeting of all stakeholders in the fight against HIV / AIDS in Africa, will be held in Zimbabwe from 29th of November to 4th of December. The chosen theme for this edition is: “AIDS in the post 2015 era: Linking Leadership, Science and Human […]

The International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, the annual meeting of all stakeholders in the fight against HIV / AIDS in Africa, will be held in Zimbabwe from 29th of November to 4th of December.

The chosen theme for this edition is: “AIDS in the post 2015 era: Linking Leadership, Science and Human Rights: A sustainable response will be possible only if human rights become a priority in a new perspective on leadership as part of strengthening based on scientific evidence.”

© C. Smets-Luna / Handicap InternationalThe objective of the conference is essentially to renew the global commitment and sensitize the general public to the threat arising from the global economic recession. Approximately 7 to 10 000 participants are expected (scientists, policy makers, activists, people living with HIV, governments and Heads of State, representatives of civil society and NGOs).

Handicap International will be represented, to share its experience in the fight against HIV / AIDS. For more than 15 years, Handicap International has been a relentless advocate for an inclusive approach to this plague, people with disabilities being – as usual – forgotten in national action plans and international strategies.

Now recognized and very active in the ICASA meeting, our association with IDDC allies (International Disability and Development Consortium) will co-host a meeting space dedicated to people with disabilities: the “Disability Networking Zone” in the “community village”, a space dedicated to civil society s’ actions, offering informal and festive side events, and therefore particularly attractive for delegates and media.

© C. Smets-Luna / Handicap International

Over the years, we succeeded to mobilize ICASA organizers to take into account the specific needs of people with disabilities, for example by requesting simple measures to be adopted: ensuring accessibility to the site of conference, providing simultaneous sign language translation… This may seem trivial but we had (and still have) to remain vigilant to maintain this progress… Indeed, a plenary testimony of a disabled person living with HIV is still very effective to raise awareness!

Furthermore, awareness sessions, sharing of best practices will be provided by our delegations from Senegal and Mali, Montreal and Lyon. The topics are varied: sexual and reproductive health of people with disabilities, inclusion of disabled people in national health programs, public policies…

We will also present abstracts mentioning our various field projects:

– The ACCESS / HIV project in Senegal,

– The program in Mali,

– An abstract on good practice on HIV in Handicap International,

Posters will be presented in a dedicated space that will be very busy throughout the conference:

poster Icasa HI

Finally, to optimize our presence, we will participate in a maximum of debates and high-level conferences to alert on the need to take into account persons with disabilities in all areas: healthcare and access to healthcare, research, programming, project financing, international standards…

If our presence is no longer questioned, our commitment remains strong to convey the message to all stakeholders, donors and policy makers that the objectives of sustainable development in general, and those dealing with public health issues in particular, will be fully achieved only if they are inclusive!

 

Jean-Marc Boivin

Institutional Relations Officer

Handicap International Federation


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