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A recent report released by UNAIDS has recognized Rwanda as one of the top four countries that have effectively managed the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The country has achieved significant milestones in terms of treatment, testing, and raising awareness about HIV status among its population.

Titled "Are efforts for HIV prevention waning?" the report, unveiled on Thursday, July 13, revealed that Rwanda, along with Botswana, Eswatini, and Tanzania, has successfully met the "95-95-95" targets set by UNAIDS.

The "95-95-95" target entails ensuring that 95 percent of individuals living with HIV in a country are aware of their status, 95 percent of those aware of their HIV-positive status are receiving antiretroviral treatment, and 95 percent of people on treatment have achieved viral suppression.

The report further highlights that 16 other countries, including eight in sub-Saharan Africa, a region accounting for 65 percent of all HIV-positive individuals, are also close to achieving these targets.

"The end of AIDS is an opportunity for a uniquely powerful legacy for today's leaders," Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS said. "They could be remembered by future generations as those who put a stop to the world's deadliest pandemic. They could save millions of lives and protect the health of everyone. They could show what leadership can do," she added.

The report emphasizes that successful HIV responses rely on strong political leadership, data-driven decision-making, addressing inequalities, empowering communities and civil society organizations, and ensuring sufficient and sustainable funding.

"Notably, the most significant progress has been observed in countries and regions that have made substantial financial investments, such as eastern and southern Africa, where new HIV infections have decreased by 57 percent since 2010," the report noted.

Globally, the number of people receiving antiretroviral treatment has nearly quadrupled, rising from 7.7 million in 2010 to 29.8 million in 2022.

However, the report also emphasizes that ending AIDS requires intentional efforts and cannot be achieved automatically.

"In 2022, AIDS claimed a life every minute. Approximately 9.2 million people still lack access to treatment, including 660,000 children living with HIV," the report stated.

The report highlights the disproportionate impact of HIV on women and girls, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

"Global statistics reveal that in 2022, 4,000 young women and girls were newly infected with HIV each week. Currently, only 42 percent of districts with HIV incidence over 0.3 percent in sub-Saharan Africa have dedicated HIV prevention programs for adolescent girls and young women," the report emphasized.

To put an end to AIDS, the report recommends increasing political will and investing in sustainable HIV response, including evidence-based prevention and treatment programs and health system integration.

According to the report, an estimated 39 million people worldwide were living with HIV in 2022, with 29.8 million accessing antiretroviral therapy. During the same year, 1.3 million individuals acquired HIV, while 630,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses.

The Rwanda Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (RPHIA), a comprehensive country-wide survey conducted in 2019, revealed that the prevalence of HIV among Rwandans aged 15-64 is 3 percent. - Hudson Kuteesa, The New Times


NAIROBI, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan Ministry of Health on Friday launched a national cancer control strategic plan to guide the prevention and control of the non-communicable disease.

Susan Nakhumicha, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health, said the 2023-2028 cancer control strategy will ensure the country tame a disease that is to blame for straining public health systems and negatively impacting economic growth.

"My ministry in this new plan will also prioritize improving public awareness and knowledge on cancer as well as strengthening the health system to better address the burden of the disease right from the community level," Nakhumicha said during the launch of the plan in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

She said the government has prioritized public awareness of cancer and its risk factors while fighting stigma, myths, and misconceptions that have contributed to the low uptake of cancer screening services.

Abdourahmane Diallo, World Health Organization country representative to Kenya, revealed that about one-third of deaths from cancer are due to lifestyle activities such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, and lack of physical activity.

Diallo said cancer-causing infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis, are responsible for approximately 30 percent of cancer cases in low- and lower-middle-income countries. He stressed that partnerships are capable of promoting healthy lifestyles, preventing cancer, and putting measures in place for early detection of the disease.

According to Patrick Amoth, acting director general for health in the Ministry of Health, cancer is the third leading cause of death in Kenya after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

He said going by the current trends, it is projected that there will be an estimated 58,000 new cancer cases in Kenya in the year 2028, rising to an estimated 95,217 cases by 2040 due to population growth, increased life expectancy, urbanization, and an increase in risk factors for cancer. - Xinhua


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni dismissed rumors of his death as a result of the COVID-19 virus, saying he is on his fifth day of the infection and is feeling much better. 

“Greetings. It is now day 5 of my corona-status. Last night, I slept very well up to the 10th hour of the night,” the president stated on his official Twitter account on Sunday night.

“Initially, on Wednesday, there was also some mild muscle soreness, typical of the usual flu,” he stated, adding that the muscle soreness has now gone, besides feeling better from the throat infection.

Rumors circulated on the social media platform in recent days that Museveni had been transferred to intensive care and later died owing to COVID-19 complications.

However, in the Twitter message, he dismissed all such rumors, stating that he is currently in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 and following the country's standard operating procedures (SOPs).

On June 7, the president tested positive for the virus, and the next day he took a "forced leave" from his office.

“However, we carried out corona tests today and they were still positive. We shall wait for a few more days and check again. I remain in self-isolation at Nakasero. Again, I advise all of you to get fully vaccinated against corona and the elderly should get the boosters,” he added.

The World Health Organization deemed COVID-19 to be no longer a global health emergency last month but cautioned that the virus will continue to mutate. - Hamza Kyeyune, Anadolu Agency

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