Feature story

Access to quality medicines and gender-based violence discussed in Ethiopia

22 November 2018

In order to highlight the need for sustainable and affordable access to quality medicines, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, spoke about the necessity of implementing the African Union Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan. Speaking at the opening ceremony of Africa Industrialization Week 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he called for close cooperation with regional economic communities in order to build production cooperation hubs and lead pharmaceutical regulatory harmonization in Africa.

Commitments on gender-based violence and the rights of women made at an event held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in September entitled Eliminating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Protecting the Health and Rights of Women and Children in Humanitarian Settings were discussed during meetings Mr Sidibé held with Smail Chergui, the Africa Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, and the African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop.

During the meetings, discussions were held on how to increase efforts in responding to HIV in conflict and humanitarian settings and the need to increase awareness on HIV testing and on sexual and gender-based violence. Mr Sidibé and Mr Chergui agreed to conduct a high-level joint mission to South Sudan to highlight the needs of people facing a higher risk of HIV in the country owing to gender-based violence and the protracted conflict.

Also during his visit to Ethiopia, which took place from 17 to 20 November, Mr Sidibe’s met with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who said, “I am committed to change the narrative of Africa and Ethiopia through ongoing reforms and agree to strengthen efforts on people-centred health development for Ethiopia.”

“Thank you for agreeing to champion ending AIDS in Ethiopia and across the continent,” said Mr Sidibé.

The President of Ethiopia’s agenda on gender and peace and the rehabilitation of street children was the topic of conversation in a meeting between the President, Sahle-Work Zewde, and Mr Sidibé.

During a discussion Mr Sidibé had with the Minister of Health of Ethiopia, Amir Aman, a collaborative project was developed that will be centred around strengthening resource mobilization, enhancing and sustaining a multisectoral response across all sectors, engaging young people and enhancing HIV programmes following the location–population approach.