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Zimbabwe wins ICASA conference bid

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Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe has won the right to host the 22nd International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in 2023, beating Kenya in the race.

In a letter to National Aids Council chief executive officer Dr Bernard Madzima, Society for AIDS in Africa executive director, Dr Luc Armand Bodea said the conference would be held in Zimbabwe between December 4 and 9, 2023.

SAA is the custodian of ICASA.

“We are pleased to inform you that based on the assessment visit conducted on the 28th September to 1st October 2022 in Zimbabwe, and the deliberation of SAA Board Council members, the bid of Zimbabwe to host ICASA 2023 has been approved. However, before the official announcement, the right to host ICASA 2023 should be signed between the Society for AIDS in Africa and the host country,” Bodea said.

Bodea said the host agreement would be signed this month, paving way for the official launch of preparations for the conference.

“We are also planning to launch the call for ICASA 2023 Logo as well as the Call for ICASA 2023 thematics during the event of ICASA 2023 Host country MoU signatory and announcement,” he said.

“We believe that ICASA 2023 will be a turning point in our quest to strengthen the health system in Africa towards the end of AIDS.”

Last week, Cabinet said over one thousand direct and indirect jobs in the hospitality, transport and security services sectors would be created by hosting the ICASA conference.

Massive financial benefits are also expected to accrue to Zimbabwe, which wants to host the event in Victoria Falls.

“Hosting this event presents an opportunity for Zimbabwe to showcase milestones in handling and curbing the spread of AIDS and STIs,” Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said last week in a post Cabinet briefing.

“ICASA will attract up to 10 000 delegates from across the globe. The conference will market the country as a Centre of Excellence for provision of research and training in HIV/Aids and TB, and as a safe tourist destination.

“Over a thousand direct and indirect jobs will be created in the hospitality, transport and security services ahead of and during the Conference. Zimbabwe made a profit of US$1 million through hosting the ICASA Conference in 2015.”

An ICASA delegation headed by Bodea visited Zimbabwe last month and met President Emmerson Mnangagwa who gave his seal of approval for Zimbabwe’s bid.

Zimbabwe has seen a decrease in HIV-related deaths as a result of several interventions including ARV roll out and information dissemination.

According to the second Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey (ZIMPHIA 2020), the country’s HIV policies and programmes have contributed to increased access to treatment and viral load suppression among adults living with HIV.
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