|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
Addis Ababa, February 2010: Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA’s) high profile delegation expressed satisfaction at the progress Ethiopia is making in the preliminary preparation for hosting the next International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) to be held in Addis Ababa in 2011. Close to 10,000 people are expected to attend the African focused conference.
“I am impressed at the dedication, hard work and commitment [shown by the organizers]…I am convinced that if the level of commitment is maintained, Ethiopia will give us and the world the best ICASA ever held on African soil,” Dr. Femi Soyinka, immediate former President of the Society of AIDS in Africa wrote in his letter to the organizing committee.
A delegation from the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) visited Ethiopia earlier this month to meet with the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of ICASA. The SAA delegates and the LOC met on February 7 and 8 to discuss the preparations made so far for the conference.
The visiting delegates provided the committee with technical advice and shared the experiences of other countries in hosting the conference and raised relevant issues that Ethiopia would have to address in hosting ICASA.
During this meeting, the final date for the conference has been decided and it will held 4-8 December 2011.
Thus far, SAA has organized 15 successful ICASAs which have taken place in 12 African countries and twice in Europe. The last conference conducted in 2008 in Dakar, Senegal attracted over 10,000 participants.
Ethiopia was selected to host ICASA 2011 after a rigorous evaluation of various countries that bid to host the conference. The SAA expects that holding ICASA in Ethiopia will help to motivate African governments to devote more attention and commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other health related issues and to improve the well being of African populations.
H.E. Dr. Kebede Worku, State Minister of Health, expressed Ethiopia’s commitment to making the next ICASA successful and a pivotal conference in the history of HIV/AIDS and STIs. “We are also ready to take up the challenge of bringing in new issues such as malaria and TB to the conference,” says the State Minister.