Statements and Webcast
H.E. Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Prime Minister
8 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
SIBUSISO BARNABAS DLAMINI, Prime Minister of Swaziland, said the devastation of HIV/AIDS had been as destructive as any holocaust encountered in any war. It had destroyed families and communities, and inflicted severe damage on economies. At the same time, the world had had steered a counter-attack as perhaps never envisaged in the early days of the disease. His region, the most severely challenged by HIV prevalence, presented daunting statistics, but in the last decade, new infections had dropped from around 4 per cent of the population in 2000 to 2.6 per cent in 2010. The high proportion of new infections were among young people, especially women, and studies were being conducted on women’s sexual behaviour and the impacts of prevention programmes, which would inform national prevention efforts.
In addition, the national strategic framework recognized the importance of all stakeholders “buying in” to a fully consultative and participatory approach, “right down to the community level”, he said. A new AIDS framework had been created and a council that drew from all sectors had been put in place to oversee HIV/AIDS policies. Among other efforts, the country had piloted an early introduction of antiretroviral treatments, reduced mother-to-child transmission, strengthened safe delivery initiatives and increased treatment for HIV-positive mothers. It aimed to reduce mother-to-child transmission to zero by 2015 and also had scaled up its circumcision programme. To support children who had been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, 1,500 neighbourhood care points and other social centres had been built and a free education programme started to keep them in school. “AIDS has substantially reduced our human capital,” he said.