Winnie Byanyima appointed as new UNAIDS executive director

Winnie Byanyima will have to lead a large team in an expanded response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic around the world.

Some of the individuals that have taken up the same position include, Belgian Peter Piot, Malian Michel Sidibe and Gunilla Carlsson from Sweden has been serving as the executive director in the interim following Sidibe’s departure this year.

She tweeted, “I embrace the role with humility, passion and faith that we can end this pandemic (HIV and AIDS) by 2030.”

Byanyima continued to say, “I look forward to joining the UNAIDS team and to work closely with co-sponsors and partners to remove barriers to prevention, treatment and care.”

According to the UNAIDS data 2018, it aims at ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. United Nations Member States boldly included this objective in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Billions of dollars of investment and the collective efforts of millions of health workers, social workers, community-based organizations and researchers are working towards this goal.

The number of new HIV infections globally continues to decline in 2017. Modelled estimates show that new infections (all ages) declined from a peak of 3.4 million (2.6 to 4.4 million) in 1996 to 1.8 million (1.4 to 2.4 million) in 2017.

The joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) is the leading global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNAIDS is a problem solver. It places people living with HIV and people affected by the virus at the decision-making table and at the centre of designing, delivering and monitoring the AIDS response.

It provides the strategic direction, advocacy, coordination and technical support needed to catalyze and connect leadership from governments, the private sector and communities to deliver lifesaving HIV services and without UNAIDS there would no strategic vision for the AIDS response.

It also generates strategic information and analysis that increases the understanding of the state of the AIDS epidemic and progress made at the local, national, regional and global levels. It leads the world’s most extensive data collection on HIV epidemiology, programme coverage and finance and publishes the most authoritative and up to date information on the HIV epidemic.

Who is Byanyima

She is a Ugandan aeronautical engineer, politician and diplomat. She is the executive director of Oxfam International and she is the incoming executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. (UNAIDS)

Byanyima 60 years, was born on 13th January 1959 in Mbarara District, Uganda. She attended Mount Saint Mary’s College Namagunga. She obtained a bachelor’s in Aeronautical engineering from the University of Manchester and also holds a master’s in mechanical engineering, specializing in energy conservation from Cranfield University.

She is married to political opposition figure Kizza Besigye and they have one son Anslem.

Positions held;

Byanyima worked as a flight engineer for Uganda Airlines

From 1989 to 1994 she served as Uganda’s Ambassador to France.

She also served as a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1995 Ugandan constitution.

Byanyima served two consecutive terms as a member of parliament, representing Mbarara Municipality from 1994 to 2004.

She was then appointed as director of the Directorate of women, gender and Development at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She served in that capacity until she was appointed as director of the Gender team in Bureau for Development Policy in UNDP in November 2006.

In May 2013 she began her five year term as the executive director of Oxfam International after her first term in 2017 she accepted an offer from Oxfam board of supervisors to serve a second term as Oxfam International’s Executive Director.

In January 2015, she co-chaired the World Economic Forum in Davos. She used the forum to press for action to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

In November 2016 she was appointed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the High Level Panel on Access to Medicines, co-chaired by Ruth Dreifuss former President of Switzerland and Festus Mogae former president of Botswana.

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