1 August 2013 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Speciosa Wandira-Kasibwe of Uganda as his Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.
She will replace Asha-Rose Migiro of Tanzania who the Secretary-General thanked for her outstanding and dedicated service to the UN and her commitment as a powerful advocate for his efforts to end HIV-related stigma and discrimination all around the world, according to the announcement from Mr. Ban’s office.
Currently, Ms. Wandira-Kasibwe is Senior Adviser to the President of Uganda on Population and Health and a Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Microfinance Support Center Ltd.
From 1993 to 2004, she served as Vice-President of Uganda; the first woman in Africa to hold such a position. A surgeon with a Doctorate of Science Degree in Global Health and Population from the Harvard School of Public Health, Ms. Wandira-Kasibwe has played a pivotal role in the public health agenda as well as in the political landscape in Africa.
As a member of the Constituent Assembly, she made a significant contribution to the drafting of Uganda’s 1995 Constitution. She is highly committed to the HIV response and is an active member of the influential group Champions for an HIV-free Generation.
According to the announcement, there has been significant progress in halting the HIV epidemic in Africa. In 2011 there were 32 per cent fewer AIDS-related deaths on the continent than in 2005, and also 33 per cent fewer new infections in 2011 compared to 2001.
However, Africa remains the continent most affected by HIV. Of the 34 million people living with HIV worldwide, 23.5 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, which is 69 per cent of all people living with the virus.
As Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Ms. Wandira-Kasibwe will help advance the AIDS response in Africa by advocating for the pro-active engagement and involvement of all sectors of society.
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