Faith-based organizations pledged their support to fast track HIV prevention

Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health in partnership with UNAIDS has convened 40 religious leaders representing interfaith committees from Nyarugenge, Gasabo, Kicukiro, Bugesera and Kamonyi district to discuss together with RBC representative on the strategies to fast track HIV and promote retention in treatment program.

This activity was organised in line with World AIDS Day campaign wich was launched on November 30th, 2018, in the Northern at Ubworoherane Stadium in Musanze District, but related activities will continue up to June 2019. The mission of Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health is to promote health through various interventions including HIV response. It is in this context that a meeting with FBOs was organized to mobilize Religious Leaders on strategies to Fast Track HIV prevention and promote retention in care programs. The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss on the theme of WAD 2018 and update participants on the current situation of HIV in Rwanda.

In his welcoming remarks, Archbishop Thaddée Ntihinyurwa urged fellow religious leaders to take actions and integrate messages on HIV prevention, and promotion of retention in treatment program as part of integral communication with members.

Photo: The retired Archbishop Thaddee Ntihinyurwa delivering the opening remarks

Regarding HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, UNAIDS representative Dieudonne Ruturwa highlighted that Rwanda is on good track in this journey, adding that there is greater need to sustain gains and accelerate actions towards ending AIDS as public health threat by 2030.

Photo: Mr Ruturwa Dieudonne from UNAIDS highlighted that there is greater need to sustain gains and accelerate actions towards ending AIDS as public health threat by 2030

The meeting was aiming to raise HIV/AIDS awareness to religious leaders to increase their role in sensitizing their respective communities towards reducing new HIV infections and HIV/AIDS related deaths.

RBC representative, Mrs Mutunge Elise has updated participants on the current situation of HIV/AIDS and areas of focus in Rwanda.

During the meeting, participants were given time to discuss on their current role and strategies to accelerate actions towards the country and globaltargets of ending the HIV epidemic and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

And participants discovered that despite all efforts, HIV remains a public health problem in Rwanda; because HIV prevalence is at 3% on the national level, and 13% of people infected by HIV don’t know their HIV status. However, 93% of people infected by HIV are on antiretroviral treatment which is a little bit above UNAIDS 2020 targets.

After RBC presentation, religious leaders pledged to mobilize their community members on HIV prevention and testing services as well as retention in treatment program.

RICH is made of around 100 religious organizations which are grouped in six confessional groups: the Catholic Church represented by the Episcopal conference of Rwanda, the Province of the Anglican Church in Rwanda, the Protestant Council of Rwanda, the Evangelical Alliance of Rwanda, Rwanda Muslim Community, and FEPR (Fédération des Eglises Protestantes Reformées au Rwanda).

Media houses were also present to cover and witness this workshop: