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UN CSOs Conference

UN CSOs Conference 2024

The flagship event on Civil Society’s calendar was The UN Civil Society Conference which happened in Nairobi, Kenya during May 9-10, 2024. CSOs were offered a forum to address global issues, convene senior UN officials, notable international civil society organisations, youth changemakers, academics, public opinion leaders, and international media to deliberate on matters of worldwide concern. The conference managed to provide preliminary discussions and data ahead of the ‘Summit of the Future’ in September 2024 at the UN Headquarters in New York. 

The UN CSOs conference participation was “successful”, despite some shortcomings: the oversight of prioritising health in the ‘Pact for the Future’ and the displeasing fact that health was not recognized among the 20 ImPACT coalitions; managed to score a big win on the latter, by which CSOs delivered as one and secured an ImPACT coalition for health despite all the push back and unfounded reasoning to make up for the failure to do so. So far the Health ImPACT coalition has 329 members from all over the world. 

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WACI Health was at the centre of this success by providing its experience, technical advice and assistance and coordinating with other CSOs on the lobbying and demonstration, urging the UN to recognize Health among the ImPACT coalitions. Our efforts have contributed to the success of having the ImPACT coalition on Health which is co-led by WACI Health, GFAN, ITPC Global, GNP+, Frontline AIDS and STOPAIDS. Following the formation of the Coalition, on May 21, the Co-Leads hosted a webinar ‘The Summit of the Future: Implications for Global Health’. In parallel, ITPC published a white paper: “From the Ground UP: How Community Action Redefines Global Crisis Management”. Key considerations ahead of the 2024 UN Summit of the Future – aiming to support the urgent call to action to do things differently. 

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With over 120 participants online, we applied to establish a coalition focused on health to provide a space to continue this discussion and engage in the Summit of the Future. At the UN CSOs Conference, additional organisations/participants joined the effort, delivering the following statement; 

The Pact of the Future must COMMIT TO HEALTH

Today, over half of the world’s population lack access to essential health services. The pact for the Future cannot speak of the interests of the future generations without prioritising the right to health, among all, economic, cultural and social rights. Action on health requires action on the social, commercial and political causes of health and disease. 

Health is a fundamental human right. Every human being is entitled to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, conducive to living a life in dignity. Health and gender are closely intertwined, through sexual and reproductive health rights, UHC and the struggle against HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, non-communicable disease and childhood illnesses. 

There is no future without health. Without health for all, we cannot eradicate poverty and inequality to tackle our climate crisis. Health is essential to meet all the SDGs. Yet, health inequalities are a pervasive global issue. There is no health if it is not properly funded, or if our governments are crippled by debt and tax injustices. Furthermore, we have already seen that private financing and provision of health services drives health and gender inequities. Our future generations deserve the right to health care as a public service. Our financing architecture needs to be transformed to include health as a critical priority, served by global finance rather than subservient to money. 

Health is not a privilege. Health is a human right, for everyone, everywhere! Health rights are necessary for fulfilling all other human rights. Every human being is entitled to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health conducive to living a life in dignity. 

What is the point of a Pact for the Future that ignores health? The draft version for civil society makes scant mention of health, and equally undervalues human rights, gender and all other public services. That must change before the Pact is finalised at the Summit for the Future. 

 

Summit of the Future: 

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The Summit of the Future is a high-level event, bringing world leaders together to forge a new international consensus on how to deliver a better present and safeguard the future. This once-in-a-generation opportunity serves as a moment to mend eroded trust and demonstrate that international cooperation can effectively tackle current challenges as well as those that have emerged in recent years or may yet be over the horizon.

We already have the “what” in the form of many existing agreements and commitments, starting with the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and many others.

The Summit of the Future will look at the “how” – how to cooperate better to deliver on the above aspiration and goals? How are the needs of the present while also preparing for the challenges of the future?

 

The ImPACT Coalition: 

This ImPACT Coalition will focus its efforts on ensuring that the outcomes of the Summit of the Future are well connected to the upcoming World Social Summit set to take place in September 2025. This includes a strong focus on poverty eradication, social protection, and social cohesion

 

CategoriesAfNHI

YOUTH COHORT MENTEES 2024

 

YOUTH COHORT MENTEES 2024

The fight against HIV requires a multi-generational effort. While experienced voices are crucial, the energy, innovation, and fresh perspectives of young leaders are essential for long-term success. This is where the AfNHi Mentorship Program comes in, empowering young African advocates to make their mark.

WACI Health’s youth leadership and advocacy program recently onboarded a new cohort of mentees. This program aims at creating a cadre of high quality and impact youth advocates. Our current 2024 cohort has young people from different African countries who meet online twice a week for mentorship. The program involves regularly bringing in mentors and experts to speak on and share their experiences.

The AfNHi mentorship program is not just about individual development; it’s about building a collective force for positive change. By investing in these future leaders, AfNHi is paving the way for a more effective and sustainable response to HIV prevention across Africa.

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CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE NEW MENTEES!

CategoriesRun4TB

WORLD TB DAY – SOUTH AFRICAN EDITION

Advocating for Change: WACI Health’s Impactful Engagement in World Tuberculosis Day Events

 

World Tuberculosis Day is a crucial moment for organizations like WACI Health to step up their advocacy efforts, and this year was no exception. Through active participation in the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Civil Society Forum (CSF) TB Task Team engagements, WACI Health spearheaded a series of impactful activities leading up to and on WTBD.

The journey began with four build-up activities, setting the stage for the main events on World TB Day. On March 20th, in a powerful display of solidarity, TB Affected Communities joined forces with civil society partners to march to the National Department of Health. Here, they delivered a Memorandum addressing critical issues: vehemently opposing health budget cuts and TB-related deaths, while also urging the government to declare TB as a national emergency.

The momentum continued on March 23rd with a TB Symposium hosted by the Ministry of Health (MoH). The symposium served as a platform to showcase the promising results of the Bedaquiline pilot and underscore the urgent need for scaling up efforts against multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB).

Following the symposium, two Policy in Action sessions took center stage, each led by different sectors. The SANAC CSF Faith-Based Sector focused on raising awareness among youth and parents about TB testing and treatment, emphasizing the importance of early detection and intervention. Meanwhile, the People Living with HIV (PLHIV) Sector had the honor of hosting Gauteng Province Political Leaders and the Minister of Health. Prof Dyasi from SANARELA was entrusted with delivering the PLHIV Sector’s Memorandum to the MoH, highlighting key demands concerning HIV and TB.

On World TB Day itself, WACI Health took proactive steps by sending messages to key stakeholders, including the Head of State, Deputy President, MoH, National TB Program (NTP), and TB Caucus. The aim was to remind leaders of their commitments made during the TB High-Level Meeting and advocate for the integration of TB implementation into existing national processes.

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The day culminated in a significant action: the handover of a joint statement from civil society and TB Affected Communities to the South African government. This statement called for adequate funding for SANAC, recognizing it as the primary body supporting civil society and communities in the fight against TB and HIV.

In summary, WACI Health’s engagement in World TB Day events showcased collective efforts to drive meaningful change. By amplifying voices, raising awareness, and advocating for policy reforms, we are one step closer to achieving our goal of ending the TB epidemic in South Africa. 

 

Together, we can make a difference.

 

CategoriesRun4TB

WORLD TB DAY – KENYAN EDITION

WORLD TB DAY – KENYAN EDITION

Yes, We can end TB! 

This year’s World TB Day commemoration in Kenya brought together stakeholders at Kimorori grounds in Murang’a County to declare their interest and  commitment in the fight against TB. In attendance were representatives from the national government, including the Cabinet Secretary for Health Hon. Susan Nakhumicha  and Principal secretary for Public Health  and Professional Standards Hon. Mary Muthoni, County Government officials, Global Partners. Global Fund, USAID, WHO; CSOs, Community Health workers and communities were in attendance.

All  the speakers emphasised a multisectoral approach to tackling TB because it impacts all sectors of  Kenya’s economy, including the education sector. Moreover, there was a common view on the need to include innovation in diagnosis and treatment of TB. Despite notable progress, TB remains a persistent public health challenge in Kenya, with the country being among the 30 high-burden nations for TB.

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Stop TB Partnership Kenya National Coordinator, Evaline Kibuchi

 

Stop TB Partnership Kenya National Coordinator, Evaline Kibuchi applauded the government for its continued support of the fight and urged legislators to continue involving TB in societal conversations. She asked the president, through the Cabinet secretary, to prioritise the government’s fight against TB by increasing Kenya’s health budget, thus increasing resources for health and for TB in particular.

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Cabinet Secretary for Health, Hon. Susan N. Nakumicha

 

The Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Nakhumicha applauded Community Health Workers for their good job in fighting TB at the grassroots level through raising awareness and offering community support. She also appreciated the efforts of global partners in the fight against TB. “As a ministry, we’re shifting our healthcare investment focus from curative to promotive and preventive services. By prioritizing these services, we’ll intensify the fight against TB as we work closely with our collaborators to secure a healthier future for all.” CS Nakhumicha. 

The event was marked by a march to stand in solidarity with communities affected by TB, and honor lives that were lost to TB. There were several TB diagnostic stations that were testing for the infectious disease, as well as celebrating the progress made in prevention and treatment of TB. 

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Phillip Nyakwana, Chair Non State Actors Kenya (left),WACI Health’s Executive Director, Rosemary Mburu (centre), Ag. Director General MoH, Dr. Sultani Matendechero (right)

 

Indeed, we can end TB, everyone has a role to play towards ending TB. 

CategoriesGFAN Africa

Celebrating GFAN Africa’s 2023 Achievements: A Year of Advocacy and Progress

Celebrating GFAN Africa’s 2023 Achievements: A Year of Advocacy and Progress

In 2023, the Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN) Africa marked an extraordinary year, demonstrating remarkable achievements in health advocacy and domestic resource mobilization across the continent. With a focus on collaborative empowerment and strategic advancement, GFAN Africa’s endeavors throughout the year have set a new benchmark for health advocacy in Africa. Here, we reflect on the key milestones and the collective impact of these efforts.

 

A Unified Voice for Health Financing

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GFAN Africa’s engagement with 18 African parliamentarians under the Nairobi Declaration was a landmark initiative, birthing the Regional Parliamentarians Taskforce on Domestic Resource Mobilization for Health in Africa. This body aims at advocating and  emphasizing the significance of domestic resource mobilization for sustainable health financing in Africa. This effort has not only reinforced the commitment of African leaders to health advocacy but has also spotlighted the imperative role of domestic resources in ensuring health equity and access.

 

Forging Stronger Partnerships for Health

The synergy between GFAN Africa and GFAN Asia-Pacific through the ‘Meet the Target 2.0’ campaign exemplifies the power of cross-regional collaboration. This campaign has been instrumental in sustaining advocacy for a fully resourced Global Fund and advocating for increased domestic resource allocation for health, embodying a collective commitment to universal health access.

 

Empowering Voices and Engaging Communities

GFAN Africa’s focused efforts on community and civil society engagement, particularly in Kenya and Malawi, underscore the organization’s dedication to amplifying voices at the community level. By facilitating dialogue and community engagement within the ongoing High Level Health Financing Reforms, GFAN Africa has played a pivotal role in shaping health financing reforms that are inclusive and equitable.

 

Influential Advocacy at Key Global Events

GFAN Africa’s active participation in significant global platforms, including the World TB Day, the World Bank Annual Summit, and ICASA 2023 amongst many other key moments, has amplified its advocacy reach. These events provided vital opportunities to highlight pressing health issues, mobilize support, and influence policy at both regional and global levels.

 

A Steadfast Commitment to Human Rights

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The platform’s united response to the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda exemplifies GFAN Africa’s unwavering commitment to human rights. By mobilizing a collective response and advocating for the rights of marginalized communities, GFAN Africa has reinforced the intrinsic link between human rights and health equity.

 

Looking Ahead

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As we celebrate the achievements of 2023, GFAN Africa remains resolute in its mission to advocate for sustainable health financing and equitable healthcare across Africa. The journey continues, and the network is poised to build on this momentum, driving further progress toward the 2030 global health targets.

 

GFAN Africa’s 2023 milestones are not just a reflection of the past but a beacon for the future, guiding continued advocacy and collaboration toward a healthier, more equitable Africa. Uniting voices, advocating passionately, to ensure Health For All in Africa.

 

CategoriesAfNHI

Unlocking the Power of Choice in HIV Prevention

Unlocking the Power of Choice in HIV Prevention

                                                                                                                             

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In Harare, Zimbabwe, on the 3rd of December 2023, AfNHi convened the 6th Biomedical HIV Prevention Forum (BHPF) with the support of the BHPF and AfNHi steering committee partners who made the forum a success. The BHPF partners among others included the Advocacy for Prevention of HIV and AIDS (APHA), AIDS Health Foundation (AHF), AVAC,  Frontline AIDS,  Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), New HIV Vaccines & Microbicides Advocacy Society (NHVMAS), Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion, Society for AIDS in Africa (SAA), CASPR Partners, WACI Health and partner the Global Fund, CIFF, and USAID.   

  • In her impactful address at the BHPF, Tariro Pamela Mapeto, a young leader from Zimbabwe, shed light on the gaps and opportunities for involving the youth in HIV prevention researcunnamed 3h. Tariro emphasised the need for meaningful inclusion of young people as equal contributors in crafting solutions tailored to their needs. She highlighted the disproportionate impact on adolescent girls and young women in Sub-Saharan Africa, underscoring the urgent need for their active involvement. Despite the challenges, Tariro asserted that young people possess untapped potential for innovative solutions crucial in the global fight against HIV. Her call to action focused on scaling up interventions such as PrEP, U+U, and self-testing while urging the approval and expansion of newer options like long injectable PrEP and DAPIRing. Tariro emphasised the importance of intentionally creating and sustaining platforms for the voices of Adolescent Girls and Young Women in the HIV response, bridging knowledge gaps through youth-centric channels like social media. Finally, she urged the facilitation of effective support groups to provide safe spaces for young people affected by HIV by: fostering interaction, sharing experiences, and empowerment among peers. Tariro’s call to action resonates as a compelling roadmap for bridging the gap between policy and action in the multifaceted realm of HIV prevention. 

The HIV Prevention Choice Manifesto was envisioned and put together by African women, girls, feminists, and advocates for HIV prevention across Southern and Eastern Africa. United in their call for sustained political and financial commitments for HIV prevention choice.  The Choice Manifesto was visualised following extensive dialogues with funders, governments and communities. At the BHPF, a panel of experts delved into the implications of this manifesto, unravelling its significance and envisioning its impact on the future landscape of HIV prevention. 

Moreover, Grace Kumwenda urged the importance of choice in HIV prevention. She presented the HIV prevention pipeline, which includes long-acting injectables, dual protection pills and ongoing advocacy through the Choice Manifesto. Grace emphasised the importance of quickening the process from product approval to hands-on implementation and addressing structural barriers. Advocating for provider training and investing in healthcare professionals is essential for successful implementation. 

The Partner’s Panel on the future of biomedical HIV prevention, featured insights from key representatives. Mary Latka, from USAID, emphasised collaboration with local governments, donors, and academia, and creating an enabling environment for affordable choices. Anna Rammou, of CIFF, highlighted the importance of choice, emphasising CIFF’s commitment to multi-stakeholder agreements and empowering communities to make informed decisions. Financial diversification and accountability were key considerations for CIFF. Dr. Vuyiseka Dubula, of the Global Fund, emphasised the centrality of communities in their strategy for future prevention options. Community representative, Ruth Akulu, stressed the need for sustainability in HIV prevention, addressing challenges such as gender-based violence and empowering communities to make choices. She advocated for broader participation in research across all African countries to ensure demand and supply alignment for effective solutions. 

Key takeaways from the forum; 

Strengthen Youth Involvement: Actively involve young people in shaping HIV services by letting them express their preferences in terms of services, delivery methods, and locations. Their meaningful participation should be a cornerstone in the planning and execution of Biomedical HIV Prevention (BHP) initiatives. 

Let Communities Lead: Empower communities to take charge of programs designed for them. Decision-making processes within BHP should prioritise the voices and needs of the communities being served, ensuring programs are tailored to their unique circumstances. 

Unlock the Power of Choice: Expand the range of available HIV prevention options. It is crucial to ensure that key populations are not excluded, and affordability must be prioritised to guarantee widespread access to these prevention products. 

Enabling Policy Environment: Remove or amend punitive laws that hinder access for key populations. Create policies and legal frameworks that facilitate the distribution and accessibility of BHP products, particularly to those who need them the most. 

Sustainable Financing: Strengthen domestic resource mobilisation efforts to fund biomedical prevention research. Emphasise the importance of sustainable financing, exploring various funding options to ensure the continued development and accessibility of prevention methods. 

Partnership & Collaboration: Promote collaboration among stakeholders and partners. Strengthen domestic resource mobilisation not only for funding but also for fostering collaboration among diverse entities involved in biomedical prevention research and health funding options.

 

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CategoriesJLA

Thank You for Making UHC Day 2023 a Success!

The United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), held on 21 September 2023, reaffirmed that healthy people are the foundation of healthy societies and economies and that UHC is central to achieving all of the Sustainable Development Goals. In the lead-up to UHC Day 2023, we asked you to call on your leaders to act on these commitments.

We’re thrilled to share the energy, momentum, and commitment from the #HealthForAll community: Thank you for making UHC Day 2023 such a success! With dozens of high-level UHC champions, 100+ UHC events and counting, and a flagship town hall event, 12.23.23 has been an exciting milestone for our community to rally together to support health systems that leave no one behind.

On 11 December, we kicked off UHC Day efforts with the town hall event, “Shaping Our Health Future: Young Leaders and Parliamentarians Unite for UHC.”

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UHC Day 2023

CategoriesAfNHI

Standing Together: The Fight for Civil Society’s Voice in ICASA 2023

icasa 2023In a recent turn of events that shook the core of the ICASA 2023 in Harare, the unexpected cancellation of the People’s March, a vital platform for advocacy and awareness, has sparked a wave of disappointment and condemnation among the conference’s participants, Civil Society, activists, and community members. The statement: “Upholding Civil Society Voices in Health International Conferences: A Response to the Suppression and Cancellation of Communities At ICASA 2023 serves as a collective response to this suppression of civil society voices and reflects on the broader context of community treatment since the beginning of ICASA 2023.

CategoriesGFAN Africa

Domestic Resource Mobilization and Achieving Sustainable Health Financing in Africa

The GFAN Africa ICASA 2023 side meeting themed: “Domestic Resource Mobilization and Achieving Sustainable Health Financing in Africa” attended by various stakeholders, including representatives from WACI Health, the Stop TB Partnership Kenya, the Global Fund Secretariat, the Ministry of Health Zimbabwe, and numerous civil society organizations, key discussions unfolded that highlighted both the progress and challenges in the regional and global health sector, particularly in Domestic Resource Mobilization and Achieving Sustainable Health Financing in Africa

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Ms. Evaline Kibuchi from WACI Health opened the meeting with a reflective note on the journey thus far. She emphasized the significant strides made in medical research, human rights, and saving lives. Ms Kibuchi pointed out that these achievements were largely due to the relentless advocacy by civil society and the indispensable support of donors. She urged everyone to maintain this momentum to meet the ambitious 2030 targets.

Following her, Mr. Peter Sands from the Global Fund Secretariat took the stage. He acknowledged the pivotal role of community advocates and civil society in reaching health goals. However, he brought to light a critical challenge – the stagnating, and in some places, declining funding for HIV, overshadowed by other global priorities like climate change and civil conflicts. Mr. Sands called for intensified advocacy to keep HIV high on the global health agenda.

The keynote address was delivered by Hon Dr. Douglas Mombeshora, the Minister of Health and Child Care of Zimbabwe. He painted a stark picture of the health crises in Africa, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, he proudly shared Zimbabwe’s success in scaling up HIV prevention and treatment, closely approaching the 95-95-95 targets for adults. He stressed the need for sustainable health financing and innovation in health research and development.

Mr. Itai Rusike from the Community Working Group on Health provided an insightful perspective on the situation in Zimbabwe. He highlighted the substantial support received from the Global Fund and emphasized the crucial role of community involvement in health decision-making. Mr. Rusike also expressed concern over the cancellation of the planned People’s March, viewing it as a limitation on civil society expression.

The open plenary session that followed brought up critical issues regarding the role and challenges faced by civil society in health and human rights advocacy. A collective sentiment emerged. There was a strong call for a unified message to funders and the ICASA Secretariat, emphasizing the need for civil society’s voice and participation in shaping health agendas. A consensus was reached on the use of digital platforms for safe advocacy as well as a strong collective statement on the cancellation of the march and infringement of rights.

This meeting was a testament to the collaborative efforts in the global fight against diseases and the recognition of the hurdles that still lie ahead. It underscored the importance of continued advocacy, strategic funding, and the empowering role of civil society in steering towards the 2030 health targets.

 

CategoriesGFAN Africa

Biomedical HIV Prevention Forum (BHPF) 2023

Themed: Unlocking the Power of Choice in HIV Prevention Research

The 6th Biomedical HIV Prevention Forum (BHPF) was held on December 3rd in Harare, Zimbabwe as an official pre-conference of ICASA, the forum was hybrid, allowing participants to engage both in-person and virtually. With the theme & Unlocking the Power of Choice in HIV Prevention research," the forum delved into the latest advancements, challenges, and opportunities in biomedical HIV prevention while underscoring the transformative impact of offering a variety of options to make choice a reality. The thematic areas of the forum included i.) sharing on the HIV prevention research pipeline, ii.) exploring investments and funding mechanisms for choice, iii.) introducing the concept of the choice agenda in HIV prevention, and iv.) strengthening African-led advocacy for expanded access to diverse prevention options.

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In addition to the main event, mini BHPF events were held in Côte d'Ivoire, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Rwanda. These events facilitated robust discussions at the country level on unlocking choices in HIV prevention. The discussions and recommendations generated during the forum will be synthesized into an outcome report and blogs, and disseminated to
partners, funders, advocates, and stakeholders to inform and drive further advocacy efforts. BHPF is organized by AfNHi, with technical and financial support from a dedicated steering committee and partner organizations such as APHA, AVAC, CASPR, Children Investment Fund Foundation, Frontline AIDS, GNP+, HVTN, IAVI, IPM, NHVMAS, Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/AIDS and Health Promotion, SAA, Alliance Cote d’Ivoire, Rinda UBUZIMA, and WACI
Health. The collaboration underscores the collective commitment to addressing the complexities of HIV prevention and advancing the global goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

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