28.02.2024 Health

Society for AIDS in Africa rolls out modalities to select hosts for ICASA 2025

By Francis Ameyibor II Contributor
Society for AIDS in Africa rolls out modalities to select hosts for ICASA 2025
28.02.2024 LISTEN

The modalities for a country to bid to host the 2025 International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA), which is a major bilingual international AIDS conference that takes place in Africa, have been rolled out. The call for bids to host ICASA 2025 is open until March 31st.

In a statement issued by the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), who are the organizers of the ICASA, President Dr. David Pagwesese Parirenyatwa invites African countries wishing to host the 23rd International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa in 2025 (ICASA 2025).

In the statement made available to Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult), [email protected], which is a development communication advocacy non-governmental organization based in Tema, Ghana, interested countries are to send in their application bid document to the SAA Secretariat in Accra, Ghana.

The closing date for submission of the application is March 31st, 2024.

According to the statement, ICASA 2025 will be the 23rd edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa, to be organized by the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA).

Any African country is eligible to be considered to host ICASA. However, certain criteria must be fulfilled to qualify for selection.

Interested countries are expected to submit a bid document of intent to the SAA Secretariat backed up with detailed proof of evidence of the following: strong government support, financial commitment, and political will to host the conference.

As part of the requirement, the interested country is to provide and financially support the conference venue with a capacity of plenary rooms: 5000 seats with at least seven breakaway rooms with a capacity of 150 to 1500 seats, and provide financial support for the local secretariat working with the international secretariat.

It must also provide scholarships for at least 500 local participants, show the availability of standard hotels to accommodate up to 10,000 participants, and conference venue(s) with standard conference facilities and a good transportation network within the country.

Other requirements are a good telecommunication network within the host country with links to other African countries and international communities, the presence of cohorts of scientists, leaders, civil societies, organized groups of PLHIV, the private sector, and youth organizations oriented towards HIV/AIDS-related activities.

The rest include easy access by air and by road where needed, the recognizable presence of government organs or bodies responsible for HIV/AIDS coordination in the country, a good security network to guarantee participants’ safety, easy visa facilities, and assistance to conference participants, and no restriction on entry for PLHIV, MSM, and other minority groups.

According to SAA, the interested country must not have discriminatory government policies based on gender, HIV status, or religion.

According to the requirement, submitted applications will be evaluated by the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA) paid members, and two countries will be pre-selected based on meeting the initial criteria.

Thereafter, assessment visits will be conducted by 2 or 3 SAA’s Council members to the preselected countries, and the pre-selection process will be concluded from April 1st–20th, 2024, followed by notification to the 2 countries.

The preselected countries will invite SAA for the two-day assessment visit from April 20th to 25th, 2024.

After the SAA Council members’ assessment visit and deliberation, the host country of ICASA 2025 will be notified on April 30th, 2024, followed by a press communiqué or release.

Before the final selection of the host country of ICASA 2025 and a notification letter is sent to the host country, an MOU will be signed between the selected country and the Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), the organizer of ICASA.

The SAA President is the ICASA 2025 Chair; the host country will appoint a Co-chair for ICASA 2025 in consultation with the SAA. The Council reserves the right to revoke the hosting rights of a country if there are reasonable doubts about its ability to deliver.

The hosting of the biennial ICASA alternates between anglophone and francophone African countries, with Zimbabwe hosting the last edition.

The 22nd edition of ICASA 2023 in Harare, Zimbabwe, presented a tremendous opportunity and was used to highlight the diverse nature of the African region’s HIV epidemic and its unique response to it.