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Winnie Byanyima named UNAIDS Executive Director

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The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has appointed Eng. Winnie Byanyima as the UNAIDS Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General “following a comprehensive selection process” that involved a search committee constituted by members of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board.

“The UN programme dedicated to the elimination of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, has warmly welcomed the appointment of Winnie Byanyima as its new Executive Director,” reads part of the statement released yesterday.

Accepting the appointment, Byanyima, the wife of Uganda’s opposition figure Dr. Warren Kizza Besigye said: “I am honoured to be joining UNAIDS as the Executive Director at such a critical time in the response to HIV.”

“The end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 is a goal that is within the world’s reach, but I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead. Working with all its partners, UNAIDS must continue to speak up for the people left behind and champion human rights as the only way to end the epidemic,” she said.

Ms Byanyima began her career as a champion of marginalized communities and women 30 years ago as a member of parliament in the National Assembly of Uganda.

She became the Director of Women and Development at the African Union Commission, in 2004, working on the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, an international human rights instrument that became an important tool for reducing the disproportionate effect of HIV on the lives of women in Africa.

The UN chief also extended his appreciation and gratitude to the UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Gunilla Carlsson, for her service as the Executive Director, following the departure of former head, Michel Sidibé, earlier this year.

Ms Byanyima’s competitor for the job included • Salim Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa or CAPRISA.
• Sani Aliyu, director general of the Nigerian National Agency for the Control of AIDS or NACA.
• Chris Beyrer, professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
• Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International.
• Bernard Haufiku, former minister of health and social services of Namibia.

She also a wife to Uganda’s opposition leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye who had stood against incumbent Yoweri Museveni.

 

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