SAfAIDS Statement on International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) 


“Our Girls, Our Gems”


11th October 2019


SAfAIDS joins like-minded stakeholders in commemorating IDGC2019; amplifying and reaffirming commitment towards gender equality and unlocking equal opportunities for girls in health, education and leadership, amongst other critical sectors. Our girls are a distinct cohort of our society. When we invest in nurturing a brave, resilient, innovative, educated and skilled girl child, we have invested in a society which is progressively rooted in sustainable development,” Ms. Rouzeh Eghtessadi, SAfAIDS Acting Executive Director



SAfAIDS Statement on International Safe Abortion Day (ISAD) 

28 September 2019



“As we commemorate ISAD2019, SAfAIDS urges policy makers to exercise their obligation of ensuring policy spaces facilitate access to safe abortion by ALL women. Policy makers have an enshrined duty to enable adolescent girls and young women to enjoy their fundamental right to freedom of choice, autonomy, and physical and psychosocial wellbeing. Beyond moralization and judgement; denial of access to safe, legal and unrestricted abortion services is a direct contradiction to the pursuit of Saving Lives, Preserving Dignity and the Human Development agenda of all States. A win-win is enjoyed by both States and their communities and populace, where safe abortion access, and contraceptive access, is effected. More girls and young women completing their education, less  women dying due to unsafe abortion related complications, lowered burden on health economies, and increase in young women contributing to socioeconomic development of their communities - are among the bigger picture wins, pivotal to this SRHR advocacy agenda.” Ms Rouzeh Eghtessadi, Acting Executive Director, SAfAIDS 


On Tuesday 11 June 2019, the Botswana High Court in a landmark ruling declared Sections 164 and 167 of the Penal Code unconstitutional. These Sections outlawed same sex sexual relations involving consenting adults. In its unanimous decision, the High Court made   this important remark: ‘Sexual orientation is not a fashion statement. It’s an important attribute of one’s personality. All people are entitled to autonomy over their sexual expression. Public opinion in cases like this is relevant but not decisive. This is about fundamental rights more than the public’s view.’

Each year, 24 March is commemorated as World Tuberculosis (TB) Day; the Day is set aside to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB and to scale up collective global efforts to end the TB epidemic. According to the WHO 2018 Report, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer with daily mortality and morbidity rates of nearly 4500 and 30000 respectively. WHO TB Reports from the year 2000 to 2018 highlight that global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 54 million lives and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42%. However, although the disease is preventable and curable, TB prevalence remains alarmingly high, with the heaviest burden being borne by low and middle income countries; with 9 SADC member states being listed as part of the 30 High TB burden countries (WHO 2018). Hence the need for strengthened collective global awareness-raising to prevent the disease.  

“As part of the global development and women’s empowerment agenda, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are rooted in fundamental human rights, and aim to uphold and safeguard the dignity, agency, bodily integrity and autonomy as well as wellbeing of all; ensuring that everyone reaches their highest potential. International Women’s Day and Women’s Month provide a critical platform to not only collectively come together to reflect on gains made towards the attainment and achievement of gender equality and equity, but also gives room to analyse the gaps to inform and strengthen interventions and initiatives focusing on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Additionally, this day also allows us to celebrate the achievements that women have made across various sectors and generations in both the public and private spheres, and for us to draw inspiration from those achievements.” SAfAIDS Executive Director, Mrs Lois Chingandu

11th February, globally marks the International Day for Women and Girls in Science. The Day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. This Day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened. According to UNESCO (2018) science and gender equality are both vital for sustainable development; however, women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science, with less than 30% of researchers worldwide being women.