Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mainstreaming HIV in the National Development Instrument


Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The National Aids Secretariat (NAS) in collaboration with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) today held a Forum with National Assembly Members
on Mainstreaming HIV in the National Development Instruments, at Jerma Beach
Hotel on 12th February, 2010.

The aim of the programme is to advocate and build the capacity of National Assembly Members on HIV AIDS mainstreaming process into the development plan, management and the poverty reduction strategic paper (PRSP) of The Gambia.

Speaking on the occasion, the UNAIDS Country Officer, Mr. Nuha Ceesay stressed that AIDS is one of the greatest leadership challenges of our time.

He noted that global estimates by UNAIDS and WHO, in the course of a quarter of a century, HIV has infected 65 million people and killed 25 million. As at December 2008 an estimated 33.4 million people are living
with HIV, and almost half of them are women.

Ceesay added that it is also estimated that nearly 8, 000 people die of AIDS related illnesses every day and at the same time another 12, 000 become infected with HIV.

For west and central Africa, he said they are faced with major challenges in meeting their access targets. “The West and Central African Region covers a total population of 346.9 million
inhabitants, over 53 percent of the total population in Sub-Saharan Africa
estimated at 674.2 million people,” he said.

Ceesay noted that the AIDS epidemic continues to pose serious challenges in the region with increasing trends and their diverse inter and intra country prevalence ranging from 1 percent to 13 percent and the existence
of HIV1 and HIV2 respectively.

However, he said that there are systematic issues such as inadequate human capacity and institutional structures, weak health systems and the sheer lack of coordination and harmonization of efforts, forms part of the
challenges.

“The Challenges are very huge now than ever before because of the global financial, fuel and food crises. There are also other competing priorities such as climate change resulting in natural disasters, which
resulted in stretching the limited financial resources and development
assistance,” he outlined.

He also told lawmakers in The Gambia at the forum that Universal Access aims at accelerating and expanding existing programmes by promoting: Increased efficiency and quality of aid for HIV/AIDS through the
actions of development partners to maximize coordination, complementarity and
harmonization in aid delivery.

It also aimed at contributing towards long-term predictable resource flows, address macro-economic constraints and reduce transaction cost; sustained increase in aid for HIV/AIDS; adequate and sustainable domestic
funding for HIV/AIDS; policy dialogue to address sensitive issues and the
identification of specific issues requiring stronger global and national
commitment.

He further said that universal access also aims at identifying structural obstacles and potential solutions, as well as increased accountability for results. VOL:3 ISSN:90

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