For the first time since 2018, and since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global HIV/AIDS community reunited at the 24th International AIDS conference in Montréal, Canada from 29th of July to 2nd of August. Five days of important conversations, discovery, sharing, and building, helped re-energise and galvanise the HIV/AIDS movement. mothers2mothers (m2m) is proud to have been part of so many key moments throughout these days.
Here are some of the highlights from mothers2mothers at AIDS 2022.
Convening an important discussion on the importance of innovation and integration
On Sunday 31st of July, m2m hosted a satellite event, kindly supported by Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd, on the topic of “Innovation In Integration: How People-Powered Services Can End AIDS and Deliver Universal Health Coverage”. With speakers from UNICEF, VillageReach, and m2m, the conversation was rich in insights and urgent calls for the role and contribution of Community Health Workers to be formally recognised. m2m Spokeswoman Limpho Nteko from Lesotho delivered a powerful speech in which she was unequivocal about the role that Primary Healthcare has to play in better serving our clients’ health needs and in supporting the work of Community Health Workers:
“Providing health services in an integrated way is the best thing to do for Community Health Workers and for our clients. It is time-saving and economical for them as they access all services in one visit. It reduces missed appointments, and helps with retention in care. It also helps us find, and better serve, people with HIV, who may seek care for another health issue and then be persuaded to test.”
You can read the full write up of the session here.
High profile speaking engagements
m2m frontline staff and Country Directors were out in full force throughout the conference, representing m2m and sharing our work and impact in various foras:
- m2m Spokeswoman Limpho Nteko from Lesotho gave an impassioned keynote speech at the high-profile launch of UNICEF’s Global Alliance to end AIDS in Children by 2030, alongside interventions from UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russel. Building on her personal and professional experience, Limpho shared a simple message about how to end AIDS in children:
“We can stop this—because we know what works. Our “blueprint for action” is four-fold: 1. Emphasise role modelling and peer support 2. Focus on community involvement 3. Make it easy 4. Educate, educate, educate.”
- Meanwhile, m2m Spokeswoman Teddy Atim from Uganda shared her story and experience at an event with the International AIDS Society’s Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER). Teddy also shared the stage with m2m South Africa Country Director Shombi Ellis at Johnson & Johnson’s exhibition stall and for a Q&A with ViiV Healthcare.
- m2m Lesotho Country Director Mpolokeng Mohloai also spoke on a panel organised by JSI and Path on person-centered care, during which she shared how our integrated, person-centred care in Lesotho has increased antenatal care coverage from 33% to 89% in Mohales Hoek. This is the power of Community Health Workers!
Sharing our work and impact with delegates at the m2m exhibition stand
The m2m team was delighted to see the buzz surrounding our exhibition stall, which featured a number of fun and engaging materials that allowed delegates to be introduced to, or learn more, about our work. Attendees also had the opportunity to interact with a wide array of m2m team members, from m2m’s President & CEO Frank Beadle de Palomo and Director of Programmes and Technical Support Dr. Kathrin Shmitz to m2m Spokeswomen from Lesotho and Uganda, as well as Country Directors for Lesotho and South Africa.
Conveying the power of our work through images in a photo exhibit in the Global Village
m2m was shortlisted to curate a photo exhibit that showcased how people-centred models are engaging and re-engaging communities, with the goal of ending AIDS by 2030. After an open, global call for entries, ten images were selected by a diverse panel of activists, people living with HIV, and creative professionals, which were showcased in the Global Village to inspire and educate attendees, while contributing to reducing stigma through the powerful presentation of people living with HIV as change agents.
It is now time to turn this renewed energy and commitment to creating a healthy, HIV-free generation into action!
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