Statements and Webcast
H. E. Ms. Habiba Zahi Romdhane, Minister of Public Health
9 June 2011
HABIBA ZAHI ROMDHANE, Minister for Public Health of Tunisia, noted that the High-Level Meeting had come at the same time as the "Arab Spring", which had been a driving force for the people of the world to use all their energies to combat inequality, whether economic or social. She commended the United Nations for its positive stand with regard to Tunisia, including the Secretary-General’s visit to the country, during which he had saluted the efforts of all Tunisians in all fields. Tunisia expressed a commitment to work with the international community to fight HIV and AIDS, and lift all the obstacles to halting the disease. To confront the pandemic, Tunisia would work in cooperation with all stakeholders and all organizations throughout society and the private sector. Tunisia had been able to control transmissions through controlling blood transfusions and providing free testing and care to all people living with HIV, including antiretroviral treatment to all those requiring it, without any discrimination. That treatment was guaranteed through a special endowment for HIV/AIDS.
More coordinated international efforts and more collaboration with civil society were needed to lower risky behaviour, she said. Tunisia would take all the necessary steps, with full respect for the highest principles of human rights. Tunisia was committed to protecting vulnerable groups, such as women, children and youth. The Meeting was an excellent opportunity for the country to stress its concern for youth and to address all the health risks they faced. Tunisia paid tribute to the vast efforts of all United Nations bodies, but stressed the need to continue technical and financial support through further funding from the Global Fund. Tunisia welcomed the proposed declaration of the Meeting and was committed to contributing and putting an end to the pandemic by preventing more infections and ensuring no discrimination.