Monday, August 05, 2013

ICASA 2015 Selection Team Visits Ghana & Tunisia

By Patrick Baidoo

A pre-selection team from the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) Council will visit Ghana between August 6 and 8, 2013, to hold meetings with Government and key stakeholders as part of the final assessments process to determine whether Ghana or Tunisia hosts the 18th ICASA.

Critical elements for choosing the host country are the levels of commitment from Government and its allied HIV/AIDS institutions, the state of facilities as well as other logistics available which make the country more qualified above co-tenders Tunisia to host ICASA 18th, in 2015.

ICASA (International Conference on HIV, TB, Malaria and STI’s in Africa), is the continent biggest bilingual conference with approximately 10,000 delegates participation. After visiting Ghana the team will then travel to Tunisia to undertake a similar exercise before a final decision is made. 

Benefits for Host Country

For a host country, some of the gains of hosting an ICASA conference largely are capacity building of its policy makers, technocrats and personnel from its allied HIV / AIDS institutions. 

Economic growth is also a major gain because of revenue that will be accrued from visit to tourist sites by delegates. The good image of the country is also promoted in the international media for positive growth with regards to investments, among others.

Selection Team

The following executives from SAA will conduct the assessment visit for Ghana, Prof. Robert Soudre (SAA President) from Burkina Faso, Dr. Meskerem Grunitzky (SAA Council member) – Togo and Mrs. Lois Chingandu (SAA Council member) of Zimbabwe.

Program of Visiting Team

The visiting selection team is expected to pay a courtesy call on the Vice President, hold meeting with Ghana AIDS Commission, Key Ministries and visit proposed conference sites and hotels for hosting delegates. They would then round their activities with a press conference.

 Criteria for Selection

“The two countries were successfully selected out of other bids from African States this year to host the conference by the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), registered members across the globe and particularly in Africa. “It is the normal practice, to select two countries as a contingency measure”, a statement from SAA noted.

It further indicated that though all African countries are eligible to host ICASA, they had to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for selection, that is, strong political will; governments commitment  to bear at least 20 percent of the total cost, as well as availability of hotel infrastructure with standard accommodation to contain the 10,000 participants and good roads”.

The selection committee also considered the presence of cohort of scientist, civil societies, organized groups of People Living With HIV (PLWHIV), private sector, and youth organizations and State institutions oriented towards HIV/AIDS coordination and related activities.

“Security situation and political stability in the host country, banking system, no-discriminatory policies against PLWH, as well as gender equality would also be a guiding principle for the SAA Governing Board in their final decision”, the SAA emphasized.

Rational Behind ICASA

ICASA is in response to the challenges posed by the HIV/AIDS scourge in Africa. The motion for the hosting of the International Conference, on African soil, was moved by prominent African scientists at a meeting in Italy in 1987.

Three years later, the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) was established as the organizational custodian of ICASA. The 17th ICASA takes place in Cape Town, South Africa from December 7th to 11, 2013, hence the 18th ICASA would be held in either Tunisia or Ghana.

1 comment:

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