The global fight against AIDS has a way to go. That’s why days, like today, World AIDS Day are so important. They focus millions on our planet around a single cause, at a single time. With nearly 35 million people living with AIDS globally, taking action and raising awareness around the disease is still mission critical.
We know so much about AIDS, yet the disease still debilitates lives if it’s not properly treated. That’s why just two and a half months ago, major players from the private sector, government, NGOs and I, Charlotte Love, converged in Canada to give a big push to providing the money and resources required to halt AIDS by 2030.
Montreal was the backdrop for an international event which saw our client Ecobank renew its three-year partnership with The Global Fund.
Late on 13th September, I arrived in this wonderfully multicultural city with Brand Communications colleagues Zarina Banu and Veronique Verlinden for The Global Fund’s Fifth Replenishment Conference to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
For five days, my feet didn’t touch the ground.
Between jet lag and excitement, I worked on an epic and inspiring week of passionate discussions and major events.
I rapidly found my way around the city as I crunched logistics at multiple locations…
Crisp September mornings were spent hunting for printing paper, chargers and taxis before daily brainstorming sessions over coffee and breakfast with Zarina and Veronique.
With barely a couple of hours sleep every night, I had to draw on reserves of energy. Deep in the suburbs of Montreal, I worked into the early hours of the morning editing video footage from Ecobank Foundation’s re-launch event with a kind hearted Russian cameraman and his exceedingly fluffy cat.
Back at the replenishment session, I had the privilege of listening to speeches by Bill Gates and Mark Dybul, Executive Director of The Global Fund. Pausing for breath, Dybul stressed the need to continue to come together and be outward looking as much work remains to halt AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in their forward march.
Today, with the number of people being diagnosed with AIDS on the rise, this ardour is more essential than ever.
Every day since that momentous week in North America, I reflect on how we as individuals can tip the balance if we take action.
No matter how small, I was happy to play my part.