25th March 2020

Dear AFSA Colleagues and Friends

The corona virus is reshaping our daily lives, bringing with it the spectre of mounting infections and concerns about the health of our loved ones. Covid-19 threatens to cripple our economy and overwhelm our health systems, and it is tempting to despair at the scope of the challenge facing us.

Now is the time to remember that AFSA was born out of a seemingly hopeless health crisis caused by a deadly pandemic. Unlike the early days of the HIV epidemic we aren’t fighting government for treatment, lacking information or resources. Today we see true leadership from our President and Minister of Health. We have the information and resources to keep our friends and family safe, even if there is no treatment.

I know you are afraid, and I am too. These are uncertain times and the social and economic devastation of this pandemic is likely to continue long after the immediate health crisis passes.

AFSA stands in solidarity with all those infected, with first responders and healthcare workers on the front lines of this battle, just as we have for decades in the war against AIDS and TB. Right now, we are working with donors to adapt existing funding to address this crisis. We’ll need your ingenuity and resolve in the days, weeks and months ahead, finding new ways to work.

We have the creativity, the skills and resources within our organisation and sub-recipients to support government efforts to combat this virus if we are willing to work differently and contribute to this fight. Our actions will be led by kindness, compassion and commitment and I have no doubt we will emerge stronger together.

Yours in solidarity,

Debbie Mathew

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