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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

UNAIDS calls for the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

UNAIDS Executive Director, Dr Winnie Byanyema has called for the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and its Western allies to allow the country to build its health delivery system without any hindrance.

The UNAIDS chief this Tuesday paid a courtesy call on President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House where discussions centered on several issues, chief among them, how sanctions have affected the country’s health system.

“We discussed the economy because the economy is in trouble because of the sanctions, these sanctions I believe are sanctions from the past and should be removed. The President informed me that the European Union has removed most of the sanctions but there are still sanctions from the American government I think these sanctions should be removed so that Zimbabwe can access and borrow money to fight other diseases, buy medication, and put in infrastructure.

“Zimbabwe’s access to external financing and credit market is limited because of those sanctions so we discussed and I said I will also be speaking wherever I am on the wisdom of allowing Zimbabwe to manage its development without those sanctions.

“We talked also about the industrialisation of the local production of medicines. We cannot keep buying from abroad and be able to afford for our people. And when the next pandemic comes we do not want to be treated like we were treated in covid where the supply was small and Africa was put at the back of the queue even with our own money we had no vaccines to buy,” said Dr Byanyema.

The President also received a pat on the back for his astute leadership which has seen the country reducing new HIV infections.

” I thanked His Excellency the President for hosting the 22nd ICASA. I thanked him also for the policies and his leadership that have made the HIV response in this country successful, Zimbabwe is one of the countries that are fastest moving to reduce new infections and deaths and to achieve the midterm targets of 2025. Zimbabwe is one of the most successful countries in fighting Aids and that’s because a leadership that is pushing for the right policies,” said Dr Byanyema.

Dr Byanyema is in Zimbabwe for the 22nd edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) which brings together key stakeholders in HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and communicable diseases.

The conference, which began this Monday, ends on Saturday.

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