AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) voiced support today for African leaders, experts and advocates who have endured humiliation and discrimination while attempting to travel to wealthy countries in their official capacities.
Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, a Kenyan national and acting director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, decided to return home after being mistreated by German immigration authorities upon arrival in Berlin, according to Africa Times. Dr. Ogwell was invited to attend the World Health Summit in Germany.
“Countries in the Global North claim to care about inclusivity, but they continue holding meetings like the World Health Summit in the West. They bar renowned health experts and scientists from carrying out their duties by denying them access to global forums. From this, one can only conclude that pledges of solidarity are uttered for the sake of appearances,” said AHF Africa Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Iutung. “If wealthy countries are truly committed to reversing the wrongs of colonialism, their actions must follow their words; otherwise, all future global public health meetings should be held in the Global South.”
UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima encountered similar problems in Geneva while traveling to Montréal, Canada, to attend the International AIDS Conference (IAC) earlier this year. Canada denied entry entirely to several of AHF’s medical experts and advocates, even after the IAC invited them and accepted their abstracts for scientific achievement.