Dr Agnes Vaccines ICASA

ICASA 2023: Reflecting on Key Moments

The 22nd edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) convened in Harare, Zimbabwe, drawing together a diverse array of global health experts, policymakers, community leaders, activists, researchers, and advocates. The conference took place from 4th to 9th December 2023, representing a significant milestone in the fight against HIV/AIDS on the African continent.

What Was the Purpose of the ICASA 2023 Conference?

Under the theme “AIDS IS NOT OVER: Address inequalities, accelerate inclusion and innovation,” ICASA 2023 aimed to emphasise the pressing need for equity, inclusion, and innovation in combating HIV/AIDS and other related diseases. The event sought to spotlight key challenges, foster collaboration, and promote strategies to drive progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS and associated infections.

Dr Mahomva ViiV session ICASA
Africa REACH Leadership Council Member Dr. Agnes Mahomva panel at a ViiV HealthCare Satellite Session where she discussed community-driven multi-sectoral partnerships and the impact achievable when diverse sectors collaborate.
Sonia ICASA
Africa REACH Campaign Lead, Sonia Ndimbira giving remarks on behalf of our Leadership Council member Hon. Judith Kapinga during the ICASA Special Session on addressing inequalities and ending AIDS.

Where Was the ICASA 2023 Conference Held?

ICASA 2023 embraced a hybrid format, blending virtual participation with an in-person gathering hosted in Harare, Zimbabwe. This unique approach allowed for greater accessibility and engagement, facilitating the exchange of ideas and insights despite geographical barriers.

What Were the Objectives of ICASA 2023?

The conference’s objectives revolved around mainstreaming respect for equity, inclusion, and diversity in disease control. It sought to emphasize sustained domestic financing, community responses, and evidence-based policy formulation. Additionally, ICASA 2023 aimed to address not only HIV/AIDS but also emerging diseases like COVID-19, Monkey-pox, Ebola, and to mitigate the impact of Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, and Malaria through strengthened health systems.

In summary, ICASA 2023 stands as a pivotal moment, reinforcing the imperative for collaborative efforts, innovative approaches, and sustained commitment in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS and related diseases. This conference served as a catalyst for change, driving discussions, initiatives, and partnerships vital to achieving healthier and more inclusive communities across Africa and beyond.

carol lois olwethu
Caroline Zinyemba-Senior Public Policy & Advocacy Officer- Africa at Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, with Lois Chingandu- Director of External Relations at Frontline AIDS and Olwethu Mlanzeli-Communications and Advocacy Advisor at Africa REACH.
olwethu sonia muna
Sonia Ndimbira- Campaign Lead at Africa REACH, with Dr. Lazeena Muna-McQuay- Global Lead, Advocacy and Partnerships-HIV/AIDS, Health Programme Group at UNICEF, and Olwethu Mlanzeli-Communications and Advocacy Advisor at Africa REACH.

What Were the Key Takeaways from ICASA 2023?

Emphasis on Community-Led Responses and Paediatric HIV Advocacy
The conference resonated with the powerful World AIDS DAY theme, “Let Communities Lead.” It highlighted grassroots initiatives and community-led responses as pivotal in advocating for a multi-sectoral approach to HIV/AIDS.

Call for Domestic Resource Mobilization and Local Health Empowerment
ICASA 2023 underscored the urgent need for governments to honour their commitment of 15% domestic financing for health. Discussions also centered around locally manufactured vaccines and empowering local health providers, fostering self-reliance and sustainability in healthcare solutions.

Amplifying African-Led Voices and Commitment to Ending AIDS
The conference showcased a commitment to amplifying African-led voices and responses in ending AIDS on the continent. This dedication serves as a beacon of hope and progress towards addressing the epidemic.

Africa REACH Friends and Partners Dinner:

Mobilising Support for Ending AIDS in Children and Young People

On the side-lines of ICASA 2023, a significant event took placeā€”the Africa REACH Friends and Partners Dinner. This gathering served as a fundamental platform, uniting like-minded individuals and organizations dedicated to accelerating efforts to end AIDS among children and young people across Africa. The dinner aimed to mobilise steadfast support and long-term resources crucial for achieving this ambitious goal. By fostering collaboration and synergy among various stakeholders, this initiative highlighted the collective commitment towards prioritising the health and well-being of the younger generation in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

FPG Group photo
Tinashe FPG Dinner
Africa REACH Leadership Council Member, Tinashe Rufurwadzo moderating and co-hosting the dinner session.
Dr Yogan Pillay FPG Dinnet
Dr. Yogan Pillay, Director: HIV & TB Delivery at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Chip with Abbott
EGPAF President and CEO, Mr. Chip Lyons with the team from Abbott.
lois fpg
Reflections and support pledge session towards the end of the evening.