The Epidemiological Well-Being international conference, which will draw attention to the need for stronger health systems and preparedness against epidemics in the light of the colliding COVID-19 and HIV pandemics, opened today in Moscow, Russian Federation. The aims of the conference include discussions on the progress made against infectious diseases globally, highlighting interim results for reaching the goal of ending AIDS by 2030 and coming up with recommendations for sustainable approaches to combating infectious diseases.
The conference was opened by Anna Popova, Head of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor), who emphasized the importance of effective international cooperation. “In a critical situation of the rapid spread of the new coronavirus, countries around the world rallied for one goal-to defeat a common enemy, the COVID-19 pandemic. We realized how important it is to maintain a constant dialogue and prompt exchange of information on outbreaks of infectious diseases, to conduct scientific research and confirm laboratory data for the diagnosis of infections,” she said.
The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Tatyana Golikova, sent welcoming words to the participants and organizers.
Winnie Byanyima, the UNAIDS Executive Director, welcomed the decision of the Russian Government to convene the conference in a video statement, saying, “I am grateful for the Russian Federation’s engagement as a United Nations Member State on the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board, your strong commitment to ending AIDS and your support to UNAIDS’ efforts of ending AIDS in eastern Europe and central Asia.”
She also expressed hope that the targets in the new Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026 will be reflected in the Russian Federation’s state strategy against HIV. Ms Byanyima also called on the governments participating in the conference, “To engage in the negotiations in New York on a bold, new, ambitious political declaration that does not lower the bar and will advance the momentum to end AIDS by 2030.”
Shannon Hader, the UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director for Programme, addressed the participants of the conference. “While COVID-19 has increased and exacerbated many of the inequalities that were already perpetuating new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths, it has also shown the critical importance of lessons from the HIV response-science, community leadership, the importance of public health advocacy and the critical importance of an all-of-government, all-of-society approach to end pandemics.”
The conference includes more than 20 sessions on critical aspects of combating epidemics and is hosted by Rospotrebnadzor with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation and in cooperation with UNAIDS.