By Abubakarr Harding
The Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, has on the 19th September, 2022 praised His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio for his leadership and sought support to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV during a courtesy call on the margins of the Transforming Education Summit.
She commended the President for his commitment to girls’ education and girls’ safety and spoke about the importance of introducing core textbooks on sexuality education in schools as a way of addressing sexual violence out of school and introducing sexual reproductive services to support adolescent girls.
Winnie Byanyima expressed concern about the increase in the number of children living with HIV, adding that UNAIDS would be starting a programme to focus on increasing HIV treatment for children to reduce mother-to-child transmission. She also praised the First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio, for being a great champion in supporting girls in her country and the region.
“Our continent needs more leaders like you,” UNAIDS Executive Director told President Julius Maada Bio.
In response, President Bio said safety for girls in school was very important and that sex education should be part of the curriculum because it was very fundamental for girls.
He also highlighted his Government’s efforts at addressing sexual violence, including reforming the laws, establishing sexual model courts and the complementary actions being undertaken by the First Lady. He also stated that sexual reproductive service was very necessary for girls.
“We are looking at innovative learning methods and I want to encourage more role models for young girls,” the President stated, assuring the UNAIDS Executive Director of his support to increase treatment for children living with HIV, thereby reducing the mother-to-child transmission.