August 08 2019 0Comment

Young African leaders on the frontline of HIV prevention research, domestic resource mobilization and advocacy

“I’m grateful for being part of the young leaders to help and encourage the current and future generation on HIV/AIDS.” – Modesta Charles Malagila, Tanzania

June 2019 Africa free of New HIV Infections (AfNHi) and ICASA Youth Front made a call for application for young African leaders to be part of the first AfNHi Youth Cohort which aims to amplify the voices of young people on HIV prevention research advocacy and Domestic Resource Mobilization across the continent. The application and screening process led to the selection of talented and inspiring young leaders across Africa to champion and advocate for Governments’ investment in health and HIV research and Development with a focus of reducing new HIV infections among young people in Africa towards the global goals of ending HIV epidemic by 2030.

“The Youth Cohort platform will empower young leaders to take the lead in influencing policy change and being able to stand up for their rights and advocating for an enabling policy environment that supports young people to access non-discriminatory and quality HIV prevention services aiding them to thrive towards reaching full potential.”- Joyce Nganga, AfNHi Coordinator

Africa is still struggling with unacceptably high rates of new HIV infections among young people, adolescent, girls and young women bear a disproportionate burden of New HIV Infections with nearly 1,000 adolescent girls and young women getting infected with HIV every day. Financing for HIV Research and Development for new tools and products for HIV prevention is dwindling globally, with a constant decrease in Financing of HIV prevention research since 2002 giving us a cause for worry. African Governments have not honoured their commitments to increase domestic financing up to 5% of GDP neither the Abuja declaration of 15%.

 “I am motivated and want an Africa free of new HIV infections. As a gender expert, I have witnessed HIV hit women and children harder and this made me want to make a difference. Being part of AfNHi youth cohort I’m sure to grow as a health advocate echoing my voice being part of the change I want in Africa as I’m passionate into contributing more to others lives.”- Cynthia Makena Koome, Kenya

The 40 young leaders in the youth cohort 2019 comprised of passionate young advocates from Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Liberia, Ghana, Zambia, Ethiopia and Togo who passionately expressed their interest to engage in Advocacy in the areas of HIV prevention research and Development and advocacy for increased investments for Health.

“As a young leader from Zimbabwe l am excited to be part of this programme as l will be joining other young leaders from Africa in advocating for HIV prevention research which has not been prioritized in many African countries. At the moment, my country is facing ARVs shortage and stock out throughout the country particularly the second line.

Zimbabwe is supposed to disburse USD 6 million towards the Global Fund replenishment and we will receive more than USD400 million under the current country grant. More than 70% of people living with HIV receive their treatment from resources provided by the Global Fund.” – Tinashe Grateful Rufurwadzo from Zimbabwe.

The Youth Cohort programme will pay intense focus on; equipping and empowering the next generation of advocates for health financing in Africa, develop youth interest in health advocacy and its implication on youth development in Africa, empower youth leaders to take the lead in capacity building and policy advocacy with other youth and elevate youth voices in the campaign to increase investment in health in Africa through active engagement with African governments.

“As an Epidemiologist and Community HIV prevention Advocate In Nigeria, Being part of the AfNHi 2019 youth cohort working closely with other young leaders, to ensure the continent is free of new HIV infection is a my commitment in seeing through an enabling environment inclusive of policies and programmes supporting access to PrEP and HIV biomedical prevention too to all those who need them.”- Orobosa Enadeghe, Nigeria

The Youth Cohort programme will pay intense focus on; equipping and empowering the next generation of advocates for health financing in Africa, develop youth interest in health advocacy and its implication on youth development in Africa, empower youth leaders to take the lead in capacity building and policy advocacy with other youth and elevate youth voices in the campaign to increase investment in health in Africa through active engagement with African governments.

“I’m really excited to be a member of the youth cohort knowing our goals on eradicating new HIV infections will be achieved.”  Priscilla Addo- Ghana

“As a lawyer I have always loved to fight and defend the Young people health Rights. And as a young person it is my ardent desire to see a youthful and organized youth levels. Thus tomorrow’s responsibility, is defending their rights securing their bright future. Being part of the Youth Cohort I have finally understood that investing in youth health will help reduce the new HIV infections through the use of Biomedical Research on the Prevention.”- Ounsouvi Eesperat, Burkina Faso.

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