Blog: "Wake up! Our children are dying!"

Blog: "Wake up! Our children are dying!"

On December 3, I express my passion for children living with HIV as a true activist in a protest at the international conference ICASA. Health GAP, together with Aidsfonds, GNP+, Réseau Grandir Ensemble, Coalition PLUS, Sidaction and other allies, protested, shouting 'Wake Up! Our Children are Dying'. We waited for US AIDS ambassador Deborah Birx to speak. She needed to hear our message. PEPFAR is launching its new strategy in January 2020 and children with HIV are at high risk of being left behind. 

During Birx's speech, we removed the banners from our bags and repeated "Wake up! Our children are dying!" demanding action from PEPFAR, the Global Fund and national governments to close the deadly gap in treatment access for children living with HIV. The security let us go, even though we had no permission because the First Lady from Burkina Faso sat in the front row. The speech that followed contained our requirements, included in the Kigali Declaration. You can read the full call to action here

How this protest became reality 

In September 2019, we entered into a partnership with Health GAP. We wanted to create an activist movement for our Aidsfonds children programme. Because it's time. 300 children die every day from AIDS. Whoever truly believes in the fight against AIDS does not accept that. Health GAP is well known as a professional activist organisation for people living with HIV, which recently shifted focus on children with HIV. We've joint forces. 

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Success at United Nations' PCB 

The week after ICASA, during the thematic session on 'Children living with HIV' at the UNAIDS PCB, Executive Director Winnie Byanyima spoke out in support of the activists' demands! Together with David Ruiz, I attended the meeting in Geneva. Winnie Byanyima called for increased funding in order to close the paediatric HIV treatment gap. Deborah Birx was also present. Even UNICEF expressed support for our protest and demands. Activists from GNP+ were on-site with signs and placards, ensuring that the call to action could not be ignored. 


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A shift in priorities 

This is a great success! The momentum for children with HIV is there. The political will seems to be arriving, and financing is being discussed. At Aidsfonds, this is a start we can build on. Our years of work dedicated to children matches this international drive, and we happily share our successes and create new ones. 

In Kigali and Geneva, we've been 100% committed to our mission, to the interests of children without a political voice, but rather with banners containing persuasive texts. This gives me a lot of energy. Activism suits us; it makes us combative. On to 2020. 


Sabrina Erné, Senior Advisor at Aidsfonds uses cookies to offer the best website experience possible and to anonymously analyze website behaviour. More information.