As our effort to influence policies and agendas at different levels to serve as an intervention to realize the elimination of HIV/AIDS within marginalized communities, the Young Feminist leaders attended the Inter-Parliamentary Union Regional Training Seminar on HIV/AIDS for the parliaments of SADC and EAC where they engaged with Parliamentarians across SADC and EAC region to discuss how parliaments can improve access to HIV Treatment. This was as a result of our commitment to develop activities to create HIV/AIDS awareness within communities to stabilize the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS and begin reverse by 2014. With 7000 people dying everyday, we aim to create awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS, with a focus on the comprehensive of how it is spread, aiming at the simplest level of education, even the illiterate. The Young Feminist Leaders build concerted, integrated and coordinated efforts with parliamentarians across the region to establish strong networks to ensure victims have access to proper health care, cheaper drugs, necessary funds, criminalization of law to prosecute offenders, easy transport to clinics, effective resource centres.
The Young feminist Leaders were further introduced to the fact sheet; Understanding pharmaceuticals patents, Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Doha Declaration which state categorically;
Access to medicine is an issue that needs a balance between political will and public involvement / civil society demand.
Many barriers to overcome; the patent barrier is surmountable.
Civil society needs to demand / support the implementation of WTO rules that that were designed to protect peoples’ access to essential medicines.
It was much pleasing to discover the Model Law on HIV in Southern Africa (Draft) prepared by the SADC Parliamentary Forum.
We expressed our interest in joining forces with SADC Parliamentary Forum to play a role in the Model law. With that, we are more than happy to promote and advocate on behalf of many more infected women in our broad communities.
To crown the event, the IPU Handbook for parliamentarians, “Taking Action against HIV” was officially launched at a Gala dinner hosted by Hon. Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa.
This comprehensive and innovative Handbook was researched by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
The Handbook was welcomed by the parliamentarians and emphasized they will bring it to the attention of their fellow parliamentarians. The Young Feminist Leaders were each given one of the Handbooks to assist them in their daily activities.
The Young Feminist Leaders look forward to a continuing fruitful cooperation with SADC Parliamentary Forum and all sundry in their joint efforts to improve the quality of life of young women in Africa who are infected with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Special thanks to IPU, World pulse and all colleagues who have taken the time to motivate the Young Feminist In Action Leaders.
Nester and Funeka (Young Feminist Leaders on HIV/AIDS)and Felicity Barreiro (Coach)were present.