Home » Verbatim » 2017 » Verbatim Report NAS Sitting Friday 29th September, 2017

Verbatim Report NAS Sitting Friday 29th September, 2017

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF SEYCHELLES

 

Friday 29th September, 2017

 

Extraordinary Sitting

 

The Assembly met at 9am

 

National Anthem

 

Moment of Reflection

 

Mr Speaker in the Chair

 

MR SPEAKER

Bonzour tou dimoun. Mon ti a kontan premyerman avan nou konmans nou sesyon formel, eksprim nou senpati konman en Lasanble, avek lafanmir Andre. Onorab Clifford Andre.  I sel Manm ki pa la dan Lasanble ozordi e apepre 1 erdtan pase in perdi son papa. Alor mon ti a kontan ki tou Lasanble i debout pou nou obzerv en moman silans pou lafanmir Andre ki dan dey ozordi.

 

(A moment of silence)

 

MR SPEAKER

Mersi tou dimoun. It gives me immense pleasure to welcome a very distinguished son of Africa, to address us today in this special Sitting of the National Assembly.  The gentleman in question is His Excellency, the Executive Director of UN/AIDS and is also Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Michel Sidibé.   I’d also like to welcome to the Assembly, 2 sons and daughters of Seychelles who’s working with Mr Sidibé, Dr Jude Padayachy who is sitting in front with His Excellency and Mrs Barbara Payet… Mrs Barbara Barbier rather who is up in the Speaker’s Gallery. I’d also like to welcome to the Assembly today in the Gallery, the management team of the Ministry of Health, former members of the National AIDS Council, Members of HASO, SADC Parliamentary Forum Staff and also members of the Seychelles National Youth Assembly.  Perhaps before I give the micro, la parole to His Excellency Mr Sidibé, let me give you a brief, a resume of the career of this distinguished son of Africa and I’d just told him in the Holding Room, the fact that his mother is French and his father is Malian, he could very well qualify to be a Creole.  Mr Sidibé is a long-standing champion of a people-centered approach to Health and Development and a strong advocate of Social Justice.  He became the 2nd Executive Director of UNAIDS on January the 01st, 2009. He holds the rank of Under Secretary-General of the United Nations.  Mr Sidibé ’s vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths, has helped drive recent progress in the AIDS response.  The goal of having 15 million people living with HIV on antiviral therapy, by the end of 2015 was achieved 9 months ahead of schedule.  Access to these life saving medicines has continued to expand with 18.2 million people on treatment by mid 2016.  Under his leadership of UNAIDS more and more countries have adopted fast-track approach, through which the achievement of a set of measurable targets by 2020, will set the world on course to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 within the framework of the sustainable development goals. Today, a growing number of countries are also adopting the 90/90/90 targets whereby 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of people who know their status are accessing treatment; and 90% of people on treatment have a suppressed viral load. Mr Sidibé’s leadership in calling for the elimination of new HIV infection among children has contributed to a 60% reduction since 2009 in new pediatric HIV infections.  In the 21 priority countries of the global plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.  His idea of shared responsibility and global solidarity, has been embraced by the international community.  This has encouraged an increase ownership of their epidemics by the countries most affected. With domestic resources now accounting for 57% of global AIDS spending. Mr Sidibé’s commitment to advancing global health began in his native Mali, were he worked to improve the health and welfare of the Nomadic Tuareg people.  He later became country Director for ‘Terre Des Hommes’ in 1987.  Mr Sidibé joined the United Nation Children Fund, UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and went on to serve with UNICEF for 14 years, overseeing programs across 10 francophone African countries and serving as a country representative in a number of countries. Mr Sidibé’s work has earned him widespread recognition. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Tuskegee University, Clark University, the University of British Columbia and KwaZulu-Natal University.  Since 2007 he has held an Honorary Professorship in Stellenbosch University. In 2017, that is this year, he was awarded the Emory President Medal in recognition of his work as a passionate champion for Health and Humanity.  In 2012 he was named as one of the 50 most influential Africans by the Africa Report and in 2009, as one of the 50 personalities of the year by the French newspaper ‘Le Monde’.  He is a Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor of France, an Officer of the National Order of Mali, an Officer of the National Order of Benin and a Chancellor of the National Order of Chad.  He has been awarded an Order of Saint-Charles by Monaco.  Mr Sidibé as you can imagine, is fluent in French, English and speaks several African languages.  He tells me he’s also learning a little bit of Creole.  He is married and has four children.  I will now ask His Excellency to please address the Seychelles and following that the 2 Leaders will respond in a short statement.  And Mr Sidibé, Sir, you have accepted to take any questions that the House may have pertaining to the work that you doing.  Thank you again for being with us.  We are privileged to have such a distinguished son of our continent addressing us today. La parole est à vous Excellence.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

Thank you very much Honorable Speaker.  It is an honor and privilege for me to be here today. I’m humble to address this August group of Parliamentarians.  For me it is more than a privilege, because I heard that I am the first UN staff to address the Parliament of Seychelles.  I personally feel that it is a critical moment for all of us. It is a critical moment because we’re faced with a very rapid transformation in today’s world.  We’re faced by, I can say, seismic change, political change.  We can even say in some word that is tectonic because from the North to the South, we are seeing growing conservatism.  We are seeing duo-political. demographic climate, technological, socio-economic, protectionism, isolationism becoming unfortunately the worst we are faced with everyday in our lives. This is translated by lack of economic opportunity for our young people.  I was saying to the Speaker, that the major challenge we are facing today is the lack of inclusiveness, a governance system which could allow us to redistribute to make sure that we have a true Social Justice, a greater access to people who are left behind.  And I want to emphasize the issue of young people, because from Mali to Victoria in the Seychelles, you will find that our society are faced with a challenge of integration of those young people.  They are representing almost 60% of them or less than 25 years old, they don’t have jobs, they don’t have hope and the risk to lose all the social capital around them is very high.  This is translated by a major risk, major risk when we’re talking about HIV because those young people unfortunately, are faced with lack of knowledge, information, skills which will help them to protect, to make sure that they can have access to services which will guide them in the right way.  And I want to say that your role is unique. The role of…you’re playing to foster the link between different aspect of their lives, is transformative but is essential.  You can take from the issues of food, accessing food, education health productive life, job creation. Those holistic, effort are needed, if we want to have a stabilization of most of our society.  If we don’t have that, we will be faced with a breakdown in the fabric.  And then it becomes an underline problems, because those young people will have a tendency to drink more, to have access to drugs and we know that in this region particularly drug users, people who injects the drug are one of the major, major vector of the transmission.  So I want to say it is important for us, to reflect on these issues and to use your critical leadership and vision you have been able to set for your country to bring proper Laws, reforms which will help us to address this issue.  When people are vulnerable, particularly young people and they are stigmatized, discriminated in some cases, criminalized, they are going underground.  They are left behind and they are faced with prejudice and they don’t come to access services, which are made available for them.  Kofi Annan said in his report that drug have destroyed many lives but wrong government policies have destroy many more and I fully agree with him.  We have been successful working with many of you, to transform the face of this epidemic globally. Few years back when I was travelling in most of the countries in this continent, hospitals were full of people dying.  We were in despair, no hope. Today I can say with confidence that we moved from despair to hope.  Just few years back in South Africa, we used to have only 90 people on treatment, today were talking about 40 million people on treatment.  For the first time in the history of this epidemic, we have more people on treatment then people waiting for treatment.  Your country has been able to demonstrate that leadership matters; that the right policies are key; that decision taken by this Parliament to affect resources, can make a difference.  You have been able to achieve 100% of coverage for pregnant women were HIV positive.  During the last 3 years we had maybe one case of baby born with HIV which is a success story.  It’s that you are demonstrating that where we have inclusiveness  when we are talking to each other, when we are putting right strategy and policies and laws are taken in the right direction for the poorest segment of the society we can have a new degeneration born without HIV.  And these success stories are important to be shared.  But at the same time, we have to recognize that globally we have a major problem with inclusiveness, we have a major problem for people we consider as a key population.  I’m thinking about people who injects drugs, men having sex with men, sex workers, they are all in many places excluded.  We are being able to control epidemic in most of the places except for example Eastern Europe and Central Asia, because people who injects the drugs there are hiding themselves.  They are way underground.  They don’t have access to treatment.  They don’t have access to harm reduction program and they are infecting their partners and we are seeing a growing epidemic in those places.  We want to avoid that here.  We want to make sure that when you have 90,000 people, we will not have the highest number of young people injecting drugs, because it could destroy completely your prospects of building a healthy nation.  And that will happen only if we use evidence-based approach -based approach, people-centered approach and making sure that we transform our programs and support your former Speaker.  I had the privilege to talk with him yesterday, who is in charge of this drug program, to support him; to make sure that he can have enough resources on this critical program for the Nation.  Let me end Mr Speaker, with 3 thoughts on how to maximize your role to position health as a driver of Social Development of your Nation.  Use your ability to enact legislation to the maximum.  Work to reform punitive roles and rewrite norms that impede the agenda.  It’s very important for us.  You’re amongst very few countries who has been removing homophobic laws and we are seeing more and more of those people coming out asking for services, because before they were hiding themselves. Address laws, policies and social practice that hinder access to sexual and reproductive health services for young people.  I can say with confidence, that when you don’t give skills to your young people, when you don’t give them opportunities to have a proper sexual education, information, they become taken hostage by the street.  They don’t have a chance to develop this capacity to resist to negative practices. We need to confront gender-based violences and discriminatory laws and practices that restrict women’s equal access.

(2) I want to say that use your financial authority to adopt budget lines that drive investments in adolescent, young people and key populations.  I know in many places, talking to Minister of Finance, countries after countries, I can say they are considering health as a cost.  They are not considering health as an investment and it is important for us to change that.  I have been exposed to difficult situation in Sierra Leone.  They had 12% of economic growth during almost 8 years.  It took them less than 1 year of Ebola to have a negative growth.  I said less than 1 year.  And because most of investments were made in different sectors except Health and unfortunately beautiful hotels, nobody were there; beaches, nobody.  School stopped, transaction coming from outside particularly investment private sectors and others were stopping.  So it’s important to pay attention to invest in education, health, social sector is the key in your budget deliberation.  Focusing on young people, adolescent is critical.  And lastly bring your oversight, making sure that you are all in terms of proper mechanism for transparent result, accountable driven type of approach or put in place work in communities to make data more available, accurate data, share results and empower our community to drive accountability for result. Foster this political dialogue with our respective communities in order to make them truly the check and balance structure of our respective nations, will make not only a difference in the fight against this epidemic in your country, but will make this beautiful nation certainly a model for the rest of our continent.  I thank you.

 

        (APPLAUSE)

 

MR SPEAKER

Thank you very much Excellency,  I will now invite the Leader of the Opposition to make his remarks. 

 

HON WAVEL RAMKALAWAN

Thank you Mr Speaker.  Your Excellency thank you very much for the presentation.  I guess the global vision that we talked about and the way through UNAIDS you’ve been trying to tackle the issue of HIV and how to not only reduce the occurrence of the disease, but also how to get more people onto treatment, gives us encouragement.  We are encouraged by the work you are doing and of course the results speak for themselves.

        The emphasis that you’ve put on caring for the Youth is indeed most important, Seychelles being a country where our youth population forms the majority is of course one area where the whole program is focused.  But at the same time as those responsible putting all the effort, all the energy, there is one major challenge which our small country is facing, and the one thing that comes to mind as I will address, as I will speak on the big challenge that we are facing especially with your presentation is the slogan which we all use, ‘Think Globally But Act Locally.’’  You see Your Excellency the scourge of drugs heroin in our country might derail us in the fight against HIV and in the fight of combating HIV specially among our young people.

        The latest statistic for example speak of over 6, 000 heroin addicts in our small country.  And out of a population of 90, 000 this is nearly 1% and today as we speak the amount of money which Government has to inject in the methadone treatment program is of course having a big impact on our budget.  The number of Hepatitis C cases which have now been reported again, again remove so much money that we could have invested in healthy programs for our young people, encouraging them to live healthy lifestyles and becoming the leaders that we expect them to be and of course helping us have this country that we all feel we deserve, a country which is already so beautiful, I mean I say that very humbly but all our visitors tell us that and we as Seychellois also as we visit our own country, we are sometimes marveled by the beauty of this place.  But as i say the different challenges come to mind and we are of course as responsible Leaders in this House, we are of course called upon to play a role in eliminating all those challenges. But whenever we hear stories of what is happening in our society, we ourselves become even more shocked.  Not too long ago we were informed of new and dangerous practices amongst the heroin addicts for example, where blood was being exchanged.  It was no longer something else, but one addict would inject himself with or herself with heroin and then another addict would come and get some blood and we know that the transmission of HIV is mainly done through blood.

        When we hear stories of young girls who are now on the streets, presenting the menu of services they offer amongst which is unprotected sex for a higher price, all these things worry us.

        When we hear of the number of prisoners who go into the Prison HIV free or Hepatitis C free but who come out infected, again we are worried.  And as a small country the scare is even greater, because compared to large populations of over 5 million and above, when something terrible happens, I mean 1% is, can be considered a low figure, but for us 1% percent of the population represents a very high figure.  And of course it’s a source of great worries.  And when we balance everything out with the economics again we are concerned as a country.

        So maybe your Excellency you can, I mean as you pursue your visit to our beautiful country, I’m sure you’ve been welcomed by everybody and you’ve been told, look and the Speaker just welcomed you as the son of Africa’s fellow African, please encourage our young people as you already doing, as you have already done this morning, and as you encourage them to adopt this healthy lifestyle, we also as the National Assembly, we can give you our commitment that we will do our best to support those involved in the program ; Mrs Peggy Vidot who is the Head of the program; the Health Ministry where we have a lot of capable people and of course they do us proud, they do us proud and as a Member of the SADC-PF and I see 2 of my friends in the House and I want to give them welcome as well.

        When we talk of the HIV program being undertaken by SADC, I feel proud because Seychelles comes out very well and i know that Doctors like Dr Bibi who again plays a very important role, Dr Gabriel who for a long time has been very active, we know that they are, they do us proud.  And so as I end this little word, this little note of thank you and encouragemen, I would like to pay tribute to all those who are involved in the combat against this scourge.  And I pray that our country will put its resources together and our young people will indeed come out as the savior of this land.  Your Excellency I bid you a good stay in our land.  I bid you a successful mission.  I thank you very much.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

MR SPEAKER

Thank you Honorable Leader of the Opposition.  We will now hear the remarks from the Hon’ble Leader of Government Business.

 

HON CHARLES DE COMMARMOND

Mr Speaker, Sir thank you.  Your Excellency Mr Sidibé, Mr Speaker, Leader of the Opposition, colleagues MNAs, people of Seychelles listening to us today good morning, Mr Speaker the presence of His Excellency Mr Sidibé in our National Assembly today marks yet another historic chapter in the life of our Legislation.  1 year ago precisely on the 8th of May 2016, our Assembly was then privileged to be addressed by His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-Moon, the Former Secretary General of the United Nation.

        The presence of His Excellency today in our August House reaffirms also the strong importance which the United Nations attached in valuing every Nation no matter how small.

        We are doubly honored in His Excellency present, in that we welcome a fellow Francophone and a brother of African descent like the Speaker just said; but also because we are in the presence of a strong believer in the people-centered approach to health and development as well as a strong Aadvocate of Social Justice – all values which we the Seychellois as a people firmly believes in.

        As a nation we have come far, very far indeed.  Who would have believed that from the small settlement in 1770 would emerge a vibrant dynamic and wonderful nation that calls itself Seychellois ; that this small group of islands call Seychelles we witness the birth of a people that embraces its diversity.  And in spite of differences would grow to overcome adversity and overcome many challenges to position itself amongst the other nation of the world, proud of its heritage and eager to go further.  As we evolve, as we have evolve and grown so to as the world around us.  We can never fall into complacency and should never let our differences bring disunity.  Instead we must all embrace that undeniable truth that we are all Seychellois and together look towards the new challenges which we face.  We must fight to give a small voice, to give a voice to Small Islands States, island developing States like ours to face the threat of climate change and the ever presence scourge of organized crime behind piracy and drug trafficking, amongst others.

        Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, dear colleagues when the past we would have considered that those sitting across the floor from us at our foes in The House, today I say, and I probably say that this time has passed, indeed today we have new foes drugs which cause on all of us to unite and as one bring the fight to those who wish to poison our youth.  We say with one voice that we shall be relentless in our effort to protect the future of generation of this country, especially the youth.  Moreover as we look on at countries of age by hurricanes, we sympathize with those that have lost so much, yet we urge International Community to reposition itself and view the threats posed by climate change to Small Island States such as ours, as clear and present danger to the future of our people.

        We urge Your Excellency Mr Sidibé, to be our voice into the International Arena and to help us continue to educate the rest of the world on the dangers which this will pose.  What happens to Small Island States like ours, like us, should also act like a global litheness, litheness test for the rest of the world.

        As we continue along the continuum of development, we also need to ensure that prosperity is cheered by all for the benefit of all.  We recognize our shortcomings in establishing clear data structures and systematic analysis of information, to drive strategic design of policies and intervention, it is here that perhaps lies the Achilles Heel challenges.  It is here that we must also commit every resource possible in setting clear accurate and reliable data information system.  We must never leave anything to chance, for in doing so, we may overlook those in our society that are facing difficulties.  We can and also we will do better in ensuring that we benchmark ourselves against internationally set standards.  But more importantly that those standards by which we locally judge ourselves, should be the highest possible.  I have gut belief in our people and I know that there is very little we cannot overcome if we work together.

        To us HIV and drugs should not be stumbling blocks.  We will turn them into stepping stones that will allow us to reach even greater heights.  I pledge and I believe we pledge our commitments in this House today, to step up to the challenge and fight for what Seychelles needs and together usher in an even higher and better tomorrow for generations to come.  History will remember us as those whose unfailing commitment towards our country led us to be bold in changing the status quo and refusing to allow the challenges of today limit the achievements of our country tomorrow.

        Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, as I conclude I can say also that as I speak our NDEA, our organized body fighting against drug is actually apprehending major drug dealers who are at large, and we need to put them to order.  And also I can say that we have listened to you very, very attentively and your vision will definitely inspire our Parliament to more commitment, as we believe that a strong Parliament will help us along this path.  We wish you also a nice day in the Seychelles, enjoy, come again, we see that you are surrounded by Seychellois.  We know that you firmly believe in us and that is also a good inspiration for us. I thank you and I wish you all the best in your mission.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

MR SPEAKER

Thank you Hon’ble Leader of Government Business.  As I announced earlier on if there are any burning issues, we can take 1 or 2 or 3 questions from the floor.  Yes Honorable Ramkalawan.

 

HON WAVEL RAMKALAWAN

Mr Speaker in my short address I omitted to mention that one of our sons has indeed made us proud on the African level and like to congratulate Mr Jude Padayachy on his appointment as Country Director for the Region.  And I am sure he is doing a great job and we wish him all the very best.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

MR SPEAKER

Thank you for that Hon’ble Ramkalawan, you’ve preempted my concluding remarks because Dr Padayachy has only this year been appointed as the Region Director based in Madagascar but covering the Seychelles, Mauritius, Comores and Madagascar as well.  He has formally worked with UNAIDS in different African countries Zimbabwe I remember, South Africa, Madagascar and now he is covering the region.  So Honorable Ramkalawan you are absolutely right.  One of our own sons is making us proud.  But I’d also like to congratulate Barbara, Mrs Barbara Barbier who is in Speakers Gallery who is also working for UN/AIDS.  So you see we are going places and we are being represented in different Organizations, Multi-Lateral Organizations and it should be an inspiration for others that we can also be there and we can contribute at international level.  So again well done Dr Padayachy.  Honorable Roucou.

 

HON CLIVE ROUCOU

Thank you Mr Speaker.  Good morning Your Excellency. Mr Sidibé, morning to you Mr Dr Padayachy and good morning to all Members in the Assembly.  Mr Speaker my question to His Excellency is, how would you categorize the efforts to end stigma and what can UNAIDS and us MPs do differently or even more?  Thank you.

 

MR SPEAKER

Your Excellency.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

Thank you very much.  Stigmatic discrimination in my vision I was just making sure that zero discrimination is central.  Stigma sometimes is very complicated, but discrimination is our decision discriminating people from Health Center, discriminating people from getting job, discriminating people for having access to services because for who they are that is our decision.  And this House can help us a lot to really move those bad laws, punitive laws which are not helping us to go for Universal access, Universal coverage for services for people who are in need.  So I think your role is critical.  We told you it’s not possible in many places when we are seeing people going undergrond like I was describing, is particularly the factor, that laws are not conducive and not creating environment which will help us to reach people.

 

MR SPEAKER

Thank you Excellency.  Hon’ble Ghislain.

 

HON CHANTAL GHISLAIN

Good morning everybody.  Good morning Your Excellency.  And my question is like that, women and girls continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS epidemic, what can you do together with us, so that we can change this picture and involve women and girls as part of the response to the epidemic?  Thank you.

 

MR SPEAKER

Your Excellency.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

Very good question.  I personally feel that we’re winning.  If you look at in certain part of Africa reducing new infection, countries where we were thinking that they would have not be even on the map of Africa today, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, even Zimbabwe or being a model today, they are demonstrating clearly that they can control this epidemic that they can put more than 95 to 90% of people on treatment, but we’re failing to adolescent girls.  We are failing to young women for many reasons.

        First is that they are taken hostage by their social status in many places.  So unfortunately early marriage, unfortunately nothing at school ; unfortunately early pregnancies and  which become a very important entry point.  So first poverty changing the status of the women in the society, making sure that we can keep them at school until we know by experience today, that if you don’t work with Minister of Education and change completely the curriculum, make sure that they can stay at school, adolescent girls will not make a change.  We have a good review of the World Bank today in Malawi showing that just a cash transfer of $20 per month, to a poor adolescent girls coming from a deprived family, can reduce HIV infection amongst adolescent girls by 66%, can reduce early pregnancy than more than 35%, early marriage.  So education is essential ; is critical.  Any additional years on secondary school for a adolescent girls is reducing the risk of infection.  So education fighting poverty, good laws and making sure that violence against women are stopped and role of men on all of that – and I will end with that one, is critical.

        Unfortunately we are seeing a vicious circle today, men are not tested, men don’t know their status, men are taking drugs or others and they become HIV, infected by HIV and then starting infecting young adolescent.  And those adolescent are becoming more mature women infecting.  So this cycle you need to break it, by also bring a men to a services to test them and to have them having access to treatment.

 

MR SPEAKER

Hon’ble William.

 

HON WAVEN WILLIAM

Thank you Mr Speaker.  Good morning Excellency, good morning Mr Padayachy and all people in the Gallery good morning.  Mr Speaker my question to The Excellency is as follows, first of all I would like to ask The Excellency if there is a UN norm in terms of accepted percentage of National Budget as GDP per capita should a small country like Seychelles aim for?

        Secondly ; based from our experience Excellency, do you see that the cost of drugs going down?  Thank you.

 

MR SPEAKER

Your Excellency.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

Thank you very much.  I think our advocacy help us really to bring Aids and drugs as a public goods is the, it’s just amazing what happened in a few years.  We move from $15, 000 per year to $85 per year for treating people.  We can’t break the story of the cost of the medicine, would have never been able to put 19.5 million people now on treatment.

        I want to just say that last week we have been negotiating a new price of medicine introducing, because what we faced with is that we are talking of coverage, but we are not talking about equity which type of drugs are given to people in US, which type of drugs are given to people in Europe today, when I’m talking about drugs first line treatment, those molecules are made available to our people no.  So we have been really bringing …. for nation, unit aid and try, and Sweden to negotiate the introduction of one of the best medicine we have today in the world, in Africa.  We will have 90 countries who will be able to benefit to that medicine is $75 per person per year.  But the advantage of this medicine after 3 days taking the drugs you can suppress completely the activity of the virus in your blood and stop the transmission.  And that was not available.  The drugs where giving even in Seychelles is 5 drugs per day.  It is not 1 pill per day.  That will be one pill per day, and this one pill I said 3 days.  The drugs we have you need to wait almost 3 months before reducing to by 50 percent the activity of the virus in the blood.  So you can still continue to transmit.  So it is very important to really address out, to ask me to address this question of the price of the medicine.

 

MR SPEAKER

Hon’ble Sebastien Pillay.  Sorry Hon’ble William you had a related question?

 

HON WAVEN WILLIAM

Yes, Mr Speaker my first question in regards to percentage in terms of GDP per capita, is recognized by UN for National Budget.  Thank you.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

I think the biggest challenge is to how to sustain our gain; because if you look at what is happening today, most of the progress we have been able to do is based on resources coming from outside of our continent – almost 90% of the pupil who are on the treatment are on treatment based on resources coming from Global Fund or PEPFAR Fund – in most of the countries really highly impacted by this epidemic.

        So in Abuja we decided that 15% should be taken from National to be allocated as 15% of the GDP for health, but few countries has been able to achieve this 15% allocation to health.

 

 

MR SPEAKER

Hon’ble Sebastien Pillay.

 

HON SEBASTIEN PILLAY

Thank you Mr Speaker.  Mr Speaker i would like to ask His Excellency the, in his capacity as an Under Secretary to the United Nations, given that small country like ours have limited resources which we can commit to different programs and we have also engaged in programs that protects the environment to mitigate the effecting part of climate change, and also that requires resources, as somebody from the International Arena and from a global perspective, do you think that the commitment now in relation to an initial climate change and in context to Small Islands Developing States puts us in a position whereby we can continue to commit ourselves, to maintaining and sustaining the progress we had made in relation to programs, that relates to in this case HIV; because you just mentioned the cost of retroviral drugs which is an issue.  Because as we have seen recently the moves by someone by the International Community, to move away from that puts us in a predicament whereby as we continue to invest and put resources towards that, we might find ourselves having to try and ensure, also ensure that we maintain our gain, so how does that feature into future plans to ensure that small states like ours vulnerable to such global changes are not left to detriment in relation to all programs generally?  Thank you.

 

MR SPEAKER

Your Excellency.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

Thank you very much.  That is a personal opinion.  It’s not a probably an opinion from the UN.  But I want to say honestly that the criteria we are using today, to allocate development Aids is obsolete, is the design and based on situation where we were thinking that we have low income countries, middle income countries, high income countries, and we allocate resources in function of that one.  So if you move from low income to middle income or high we’ve said ok?  Those countries need to resolve their own problem.  I personally feel it’s wrong.  It’s wrong because it’s not taking into account vulnerability.  And what we need to do like you said, is to really think about a new mechanism, which cam really think about fragile communities and the people we are talking about, those young people, people who inject drugs from Baltimore to Bamako I can say meeting them they are fragile, they retard social capitals, social economic, economic capital and others and they are left completely behind.  And if we don’t have a new mechanism which will help us to continue to invest, it is impossible to small countries or big countries, who are not addressing vulnerability will have more and more instabilities.  And those instabilities will lead us to certainly more problems are done and anything else we can think about.

 

MR SPEAKER

Thank you Excellency.  Hon’ble Vidot.

 

HON AUDREY VIDOT

Thank you Mr Speaker.  Good morning everyone.  Your Excellency National response to HIV/AIDS are still very donor dependent in many African countries although there has been improvement in some use of domestic resources in some countries, please tell us how can UNAIDS help Members of Parliament track health budget to find out how much of allocation resources actually reach the citizens in the smallest health families.  Thank you.

 

MR SPEAKER

Excellency.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

I think the sustainability of our programs is key been really advocating for sometimes and the Speaker was talking about produce Report Protocol potential dependency crisis of on HIV.  And I took this Report to African Union and I presented to the Head of State and we end up having what I can call or what they call roadmap for Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity.  And there they tried to define some kind of criterias where countries could really move from total dependency to less dependency.  So and that’s I can say is working – starting working ; because we have been working with many countries to develop what I call a sustainable transition plan, and this Parliament is asking to different government tell us, we have today 90 percent of people on treatment or on treatment based on Donors Fund.  What is transition plan for making sure that we can sustain this gain if tomorrow morning they are out of business.

        So that, and we need to ask ourselves, because it is just not a health problem.  It is, it could be one of the biggest social problem – not in your case because the norm of people on treatment.  But imagine you have 4 million people on treatment on South Africa today ; almost 2 million on Kenya, 1.8 million in Tanzania – I can go on, go on.  If they are tomorrow on the street, because they don’t have treatment and they will go on the street. Because no one wants to die now.  They know exactly from where they came from.  So we need to be prepared for that one plus resistance, plus the risk of co-infection TB, HIV have a risk of co-infection, cervical cancer and HIV.  We know that any woman who is HIV positive will have 5 to 6 more risk to have a cervical cancer.  So it’s important to look at this all co- infection integration which will help us but efficiency on our service delivery is also key.

 

MR SPEAKER

Hon’ble Aglae.

 

HON EGBET AGLAE

Thank you Mr Speaker.  Good morning Your Excellency Mr Sidibé and Mr Padayachy.  Your Excellency when it comes to Africa in 2014 South Africa was declared as the country with the most antiretroviral therapy in the world.  While comparing to other African countries they are facing many difficulties to accept simple treatment regiments.  My question is how does UNAIDS strategy fits to address and reduce those long gaps and other barriers preventing those  African countries, in accessing affordable treatment, so that the 1990 goals is achievable.  Thank you. 

 

MR SPEAKER

Your Excellency.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

Thank you very much.  I think South Africa move from denial to one of the best program we have in the world today.  You have to remember a few years back we people we had one thousand five hundred people dying everyday.  Everyday.  So which one is the high cost for this country.  They were paying for this treatment 53% more than anyone else.  We work, we reduce of the price by 53%.  We make sure that they could have access to drugs which were available at the cost, the lower cost.  But the biggest problem we have in this continent, I have to say that is that we are not producing our medicine.  You can talk about increasing quickly, making sure but you have to go through global market.  Only 3% of the medicine we are consuming in this continent is produced by us.  We are all 97% of the medicine are coming from abroad.  So we need that to start thinking about local production.  We need to think about our regulatory system to improve access to medicine, which are molecules which are made available.  We are working with almost all the African countries.  We manage to make sure that access to first land become almost free every single places by negotiating the reduction of the price by helping countries to formulate their own request to the global fund, PEPFAR when it is possible, but it is not sustainable.  What I want to say is not sustainable.  If it is not produced by us, if it is notand we are not just talking about HIV/AIDS.  I am talking about almost all the other drugs.  So it is very important to really continue to support that, developing proposal for accessing to resources where it is, making sure that we can buy the best drugs.  Like I said last week negotiating the reduction of those price, making sure that it could be affordable for countries which have until today, I have not been able to access.  But Africa is doing better than many part of the world in term of accessing treatment.

 

MR SPEAKER

Ok, well I recognize that there are number of you who would wish to interact and ask questions to his Excellency Mr Sidibé, but I am also mindful of the fact that he has another important appointment at 10.45 and therefore I would allow one last question because she had raised her hand quite a while ago.  Before we adjourn, Hon’ble Sophola. 

 

HON NOLINE SOPHOLA

Thank you Mr Speaker.  Your Excellency. I have got only one small question.  What unique opportunities do you see in a small nation as you respond to the HIV epidemic and what specific role can MPs play?  Thank you.

 

MR SPEAKER

Excellency.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

Generally small question are the most difficult.  I will just, leaving this room, I will just say a few words and coming back to young people and drugs.  For me that is the most central agenda this August Assembly need to pay attention.  Drug use must be regarded primarily as a health, public health problem.  We should not think that punishment will make a difference.  We need to help those people who are taking drug.  We need to make sure that they will have access to services which will accompany them, because without that it will become a major health and social problem.  It will put huge pressures on the criminal justice because it will not work. Experience I had 96% of the people were put in jail or coming back again after being out in jail again.  So I do not think it will – and it will incite for corruption.  Believe me, my little experience, in many places any time you are pushing for punishment and others, is corruption, because the problem is that you do not reduce the drug consumption in reality by putting those laws which will put people in jail.  The war on drugs I have been every single places, what you are doing is just to reinforce those traffickers.  And they are not out of business, they become even stronger in the business because they find their own way.  So I think is to – Patrick your Former Speaker went to Switzerland, and he went to Czechoslovakia, he went to I think Indonesia and he has been travelling to look at what is going on.  And today you know in Switzerland we have almost zero new infection amongst people who injects drugs.  The traffickers do not know how to find their way because already Health Centers providing all the services to those people, and they do not need to go in the street to buy and make sure that they can have access to drug.  So i think I will talk about working to monitor, to support these group, to make sure that your population – I do not know how many there are but 6 thousand is a huge number.  It could really undermine the fabric of your society. 

 

MR SPEAKER

We had one last question from a lady.  Let us have a last question from a gentlemen and then we will round up.  Hon’ble Simon Gill.

 

HON SIMON GILL

Good morning Mr Speaker.  Thank you.  Good morning Excellency and good morning everyone present in the Gallery. Honorable Members.  Mr Speaker I have a simple question for his Excellency.  Could you advise us while you are here how could Seychelles through our Ministry of Health draw more funding from related Institution, Organization under your responsibility?  Thank you very much.

 

MR SPEAKER

Excellency.

 

HIS EXCELLENCY MR MICHEL SIDIBÉ

Thank you very much.  I think your Minister of Health is in a better place than me to do that.  He was Former Minister of Finance and a Former Minister of Foreign Affairs so he knows very well how the International system is working, and how he can really mobilize resources from those Institution.  But my point of view will be simple.

I will go more for regional approach.  Small islands integration, demonstrative that it can bring a new proposal which will address in a cross border issues which are critical for few.  That will attract more resources for those small island together to be able to address issues which are pertinent to yourself. I think that is what i will advise to –  because when you go you said you are 90 thousand people, you go you are saying that you have high level of GDP per capita, you go people said but why – what is the reason for me to end this. 

 

MR SPEAKER

Excellency at this point I would like to thank you warmly for having interacted with our Members of the National Assembly.  I have no doubt that Members of the public who are or have been listening to your Address, your interaction would have drawn lessons and more information about the whole issue of HIV/AIDS.  I note with warmth that your champion of social justice and people centered government – two themes that are very relevant to the African continent I trust that you will leave this country with every blessing and that the third time that you will visit Seychelles, you will visit as the UN Secretary General representing Africa. 

Thank you again for your time with us.  Have a very good stay in Seychelles and please come back.

 I will now invite all Member of the Assembly, our invitees who are in the Gallery to join myself, Dr Padayachy, and his Excellency Mr Michel Sidibé in the lobby for refreshments where you can interact.  And Mr Valmont and others, you can ask your question to Mr Sidibé.  Thank you again we will adjourn and we will meet you in the lobby.

 

(ADJOUNMENT)