United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Speciosa Wandira-Kasibwe of Uganda as his Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.
She will replace Asha-Rose Migiro of the United Republic of Tanzania, whom the Secretary-General thanked for her outstanding and dedicated service to the United Nations and her commitment as a powerful advocate for the Secretary-General’s efforts to end HIV-related stigma and discrimination around the world.
Ms. Wandira-Kasibwe is currently Senior Adviser to the President of Uganda on Population and Health and a Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Microfinance Support Centre Ltd. From 1993 to 2004, she was Vice-President of Uganda, the first woman in Africa to hold such a position.
A surgeon with a science doctorate in global health and population from the Harvard School of Public Health, Ms. Wandira-Kasibwe has played a pivotal role in the public health agenda, as well as in the political landscape in Africa. As a member of the Constituent Assembly, she made a significant contribution to the drafting of Uganda’s 1995 Constitution. She is highly committed to the HIV response and is an active member of the influential group Champions for an HIV-Free Generation.
There has been significant progress in halting the HIV epidemic in Africa, with 32 per cent fewer AIDS-related deaths in 2011 than in 2005, and 33 per cent fewer new infections compared to 2001. However, the continent remains the most affected by HIV. Of the 34 million people living with the virus worldwide, 23.5 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, which constitutes 69 per cent of all people living with HIV. As Special Envoy, Ms. Wandira-Kazibwe will help advance the AIDS response in Africa by advocating for proactive engagement and involvement by all sectors of society.