9th Session of the CNLS: First Lady Dominique Ouattara received an award for her commitment to eliminate pediatric AIDS.

The First Lady, Ms Dominique Ouattara was honoured on the occasion of the 9th Session of the National AIDS Control Council (CNLS), at the Salle des Pas Perdus of the Presidential Palace, on Friday July 14, 2023.

The theme of this 9th session of the CNLS was set as: “Assessment of the national response to December 31, 2022 and outlook”.  It was chaired by H.E.M. Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, Vice-President of the Republic, and was attended by the First Lady, Ms Dominique Ouattara, also UNAIDS Special Ambassador, as a special guest, and several other personalities including presidents of institutions, government ministers, ambassadors accredited to Côte d’Ivoire, and representatives of United Nations organizations.

After a three (03) year of interuption due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, this 9th session marks the official resumption of the Board’s statutory meetings.  The ceremony was marked by the double distinction of Ms Dominique Ouattara for her commitment to the elimination of pediatric AIDS and the promotion of pediatric treatment. The wife of the Head of State received the distinction of Commander of the Order of Health from the Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene and University Health Coverage. She also received a trophy from the Ivorian Network of Young People against AIDS (RIJES)  in recognition of her commitment to helping the underprivileged.

After thanking the Ministry of Health and the RIJES, the First Lady reviewed the progress made in the fight against this pandemic. Ms Dominique Ouattara congratulated the government and its technical and financial partners on the significant progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “I would also like to offer my sincere congratulations to the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, and to its technical and financial partners, for all the efforts they have made to eradicate AIDS in our country. Côte d’Ivoire has Indeed made significant progress in its national response to HIV, which places the country on the path to controlling the pandemic”, said Ms Dominique Ouattara. Indeed, according to Madame Dominique Ouattara, the significant drop in seroprevalence shows the relevance of the actions undertaken by the Government and its partners. “The steady decline in the prevalence of the disease in the general population, from 4.7% in 2010 to 1.82% in 2022, shows that the actions taken were relevant. The number of new infections fell by 66% over the same period, and AIDS-related deaths by 70%. In view of these results, Ms Dominique Ouattara felt that the elimination of pediatric AIDS was an reachable goal, “despite the many challenges we still have to overcome together to get there”.  The First Lady concluded by expressing her wish for a synergy of action to bring about the end of HIV/AIDS by 2023. “I hope that by combining our efforts, we will be able to put an end to HIV/AIDS in Côte d’Ivoire by 2030,” she said.

H.E. Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, Vice-President of the Republic, representing the President of the Republic, also congratulated the First Lady on her awards. For him, the commitment of the wife of the Head of State to the cause of the weakest deserves the admiration of all. Returning to the results of the 9th session of the CNLS, he expressed his satisfaction. Indeed, for the Vice-President, the objective of bringing this pandemic under control by 2023 is achievable. Indeed, in his view, the results and outlook are encouraging.

Mr. Pierre N’gou Dimba, Minister of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage, took stock of the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. After reviewing the figures and statistics, he expressed satisfaction with the 66% drop in new infections and the 70% drop in AIDS-related deaths. For him, these results place the country in a positive perspective.

Dr Jean-Marie Vianney Ouédraogo, WHO Resident Representative, also praised Côte d’Ivoire’s progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. However, he expressed concern about the rise of the disease in the youth sub-population.

Jean-Michel Degnan Drouyahi, President of the Réseau Ivoirien des Jeunes contre le Sida (RIJES), representing civil society organizations, also agreed. After congratulating the First Lady on her commitment to helping the underprivileged, he went on to say that despite the decline in seroprevalence in Côte d’Ivoire, many challenges remain to be met.

A cocktail was offered to the personalities present in the garden of the Presidential Palace.