Newly elected President of Madagascar commits to overcoming the AIDS epidemic
The President of Madagascar, Hery Martial Rakotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina, pledged to do what is necessary to overcome the AIDS epidemic and move towards reaching zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. Meeting with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on 16 April in Antananarivo, the President said, Madagascar can eliminate new HIV infections and in particular ensure all babies are born free from HIV, with the support and goodwill of UNAIDS and the United Nations family. Madagascar has recently come out of a period of political unrest. Since the January 2014 elections, the new government has been working on improving access to health care services. Mr Sidibé congratulated the President and the strong commitment his government has shown to rebuilding partnerships. He said it was time to put in place an effective HIV response which committed to social justice and eliminated discrimination towards people living with HIV. Current data suggests Madagascar has an AIDS epidemic which is concentrated among people who use drugs. An estimated 59 000 people were living with HIV in 2012 and 4000 new HIV infections occurred that same year. According to government figures, an estimated 519 people living with HIV accessed treatment at the end of 2013—this represents less than 1% of people who were eligible for treatment under the World Health Organization’s 2013 guidelines. In 2012, only 3% of pregnant women living with HIV had access to services preventing transmission of the virus to their child. AIDS-related deaths increased since 2001––from 4 600––to 6 200 in 2012.
During his two-day official visit to Madagascar, Mr Sidibé met with the country’s Minister of Health, Minister of Youth, President of the National Assembly and representatives from civil society to push for a stronger and more sustainable AIDS response. He also participated in the official inauguration ceremony for the new Prime Minister, Kolo Christophe Laurent Roger, which took place on 16 April at the Office of the Prime Minister.
"This country and its people have suffered too much. We are here to give meaning to their lives. We are here to put in place a structure of coordination which will give tangible and measurable results." President of Madagascar, Hery Martial Rakotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina
"Under the mandate of the new President it is important to have an AIDS-free generation. No child should be born with HIV and no mother should die of AIDS-related illnesses." UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé