Editorial - Aliou SYLLA's assessment

date Published on 02/29/2024

Dr. Aliou SYLLA
Founder ofARCAD Santé +
President of CSIH-WCA (2018-2023)

"From its inception to the present day, the Civil Society Institute for Health in West and Central Africa (CSIH-WCA) has gone through several phases, from the establishment of its structure and secretariat during a period marked by the emergence of COVID-19 to the creation of thematic groups and national platforms, all in an unstable and tense regional socio-sanitary and security context.

These events gave us the opportunity to verify the validity of this unique CSIH-WCA mechanism.

The multidimensional health and security crises and the COVID-19 have shaken the whole of humanity, forcing us to reflect on our future and what we want to be. As for the AIDS epidemic, it remains alarming in our region, as highlighted in the UNAIDS "DANGER" 2022 report, even though progress has been made. It has been demonstrated that the fringe of the community represented by key populations, including young people and especially girls, remains highly exposed and vulnerable to HIV.

From the outset, and in spite of events, ENDA Santé has always supported the CSIH-WCA, from its creation to the hosting of the organization. On behalf of the members, I would like to express my sincere thanks to ENDA Santé for its support of our Institute. This support has enabled us to carry out activities such as capacity-building for member associations through thematic groups, despite the difficulties associated with the late mobilization of financial resources.

The CSIH-WCA's history has been marked by a number of milestones: the creation of 09 platforms covering the English-, French- and Portuguese-speaking zones, and the organization of various regional summits from 2021 to 2022.

First in Abidjan, then in Dakar, Praia and finally Accra, on various themes including key populations, repositioning HIV on the international agenda, technical assistance and policy approaches, and the elimination of pediatric AIDS in West and Central Africa.

The Dakar summit was marked by a strong mobilization of national authorities and technical and financial partners. To date, it remains the most important event organized at this level of political responsibility in the region.

The departure of its Executive Director, Mr. Daouda DIOUF, to other horizons, a promotion that honors civil society, was welcomed by the Board of Directors, members and partners. What appeared to be a crisis with a major impact on the life of the Institute was managed and regulated by the provision of Ms. Nguissali TURPIN by ENDA Santé.

Our partnership with UNAIDS needs to be strengthened and, if necessary, rethought. UNAIDS was the driving force behind the creation of the CSIH-WCA. Let's not forget that! UNAIDS has offered its support, advice and commitment to the revitalization of our mechanism and the mobilization of resources. At critical moments, they were resolutely committed to advocating on behalf of the CSIH-WCA.

Despite the difficulties encountered in providing funds, the last three years have been rich and exciting. I'm very proud of the results we've achieved in such a short space of time, in a difficult context; nevertheless, we'll be drawing all the lessons we can to improve our governance. Particular emphasis will be placed on communication and the dissemination of information.

Dear comrades, the world is changing, and we should be thinking about strategic directions to meet new challenges and paradigms.

The voice of communities, essential if we are to eliminate HIV and AIDS by 2030, is still weak and often inaudible, due to a lack of coordination, consultation and unification of our local and sub-regional voices. We still have a long way to go if we are to have a unified, responsible and proactive civil society committed to the well-being of our communities."

Dr Aliou SYLLA