Mr Melesse (right) speaking to Joy News' Dzifa Bampoh
The International Planned Parenthood Federation, the global movement that promotes reproductive health says by 2030 HIV AIDS infections would have drastically reduced to the levels of polio infections today which has almost been eradicated.
IPPF boss, Tewodros Melesse spoke to JOY news Dzifa Bampoh on the sidelines of the Family Planning Conference in Dakar on the issue of 30 years of HIV AIDS. Mr. Melesse said he is optimistic that progress is being made to reduce new HIV infections.
“For me I'm an optimist by nature and we have to have the conviction. We might not be zero in 20 years time because it takes a long time because there are still people living with HIV AIDS but I am positive that people will be more committed, they will be knowing more and in 20 years the risk of HIV AIDS will be at the level where polio is today.”
The IPPF boss said the myths surrounding Family Planning must be broken to get people on the African Continent to use contraception. Family planning is controversial globally especially for those who see it as a way to control population. But Mr. Melesse dismissed perceptions that family planning campaigns still remain a challenge because of cultural and religious beliefs.
“ ... I don’t believe it is a cultural issue that is the excuse that is being given ... ask community leaders whether if a woman dies while giving birth it is acceptable?... some countries that have more difficult cultures than us have made tremendous progress...”
With the global population at 7 billion, the IPPF Director General believes what is key is sustainable family planning to guarantee a better life for future generations. That is why IPPF is re-focusing its programs towards young people so they can make informed choices.
“It has to start with education, age-appropriate education ... this is not about teaching young people to have sex, they misuse when they don’t know ...”, he said. He agreed that healthcare providers need to do more to reach out to young people in a manner and language they understand.