Archive for November 25th, 2008

Countdown to World AIDS Day 2008:LEAD-EMPOWER-DELIVER

Posted on 25 November 2008. Filed under: MDGs, Public Health |

World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, with an estimated 33.2 million people living with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.

Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005, of which more than half a million (570,000) were children.

Leadership is the theme for World AIDS Day 2007 and 2008, promoted with the campaigning slogan, “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.”

Leadership encourages leaders at all levels to stop AIDS. Building on the 2006 theme of accountability, leadership highlights the discrepancy between the commitments that have been made to halt the spread of AIDS, and actions taken to follow them through. Leadership empowers everyone – individuals, organisations, governments – to lead in the response to AIDS.

In 2007, people around the world were encouraged to take the lead to stop AIDS. Campaigns took the shape of marches, leadership discussions, public awareness events and pledges from leaders. These events all helped to put leadership in the spotlight.

People have offered their leadership – now it is time to deliver. Promises must be kept, and people must feel empowered to act.

Why is 2008 important?

2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Since 1988, the face and response to AIDS has greatly changed. While many of these changes are positive, this anniversary offers us an opportunity to highlight how much more still needs to be done.

For example:

  • Leaders in most countries from around the world now acknowledge the threat of AIDS, and many have committed to do something about it. As of 2007, nearly all countries have national policies on HIV. However, despite these policies, most have not been fully implemented and many lack funding allocations.
  • While treatment for HIV and AIDS has improved and become more widespread since 1988, many still do not have access to it – in 2007 only 31% of those in low- to middle-income countries who need treatment received it.
  • Despite HIV awareness now reaching nearly all areas of the globe, infection rates are still happening 2.7 times faster than the increase in number of people receiving treatment.
  • While the number of countries protecting people living with HIV continue to increase, one third of countries still lack legal protections and stigma and discrimination continues to be a major threat to universal access.
  • More broadly, real action on HIV and AIDS and human rights remains lacking. Legal barriers to HIV services still exist for groups such as women, adolescents, sex workers, people who use drugs, and men having sex with men, and programmatic responses promoting HIV-related human rights have yet to be prioritised.

World AIDS Day began in 1988 when health ministers from around the world met and agreed on the concept of the day as an opportunity for all of us to come together to demonstrate the importance of AIDS and show solidarity for the cause. In 2008, this underlining principle of solidarity and awareness remains the same.

We have only two years to go for “the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support by 2010”[1].”

To achieve this goal, leadership and action is needed now. Governments must deliver on the promises they have made. Communities must encourage leadership of its members. Individuals must feel empowered to access treatment, to know their rights and take action against stigma and discrimination, and to know and use methods of prevention against receiving and transmitting HIV.

Now, more than ever is the time to lead – empower – deliver.

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Kenya’s Experience Informs New Resource for Increasing Coordination on AIDS

Posted on 25 November 2008. Filed under: MDGs, Public Health |

UNAIDS/P.Virot

The Joint Annual Programme Review process is a vital tool in the global effort by governments and development organizations to ‘make the money work’ Credit: UNAIDS/P.Virot

HIV prevalence in Kenya has halved in a decade – a dramatic and sustained decline rarely seen elsewhere in Africa. The Government aims to continue this level of progress by ensuring that the national response to the epidemic is as coordinated and collaborative as possible, and that funding is spent effectively.

In recent years, as national responses to and funding for AIDS in many countries have become more complex – with more activities, stakeholders and donors than a few years ago – coordination has become an even bigger challenge.

Kenya decided to support coordination by conducting Joint Annual Programme Reviews, which bring together a wide range of people working on AIDS to take a comprehensive look at the overall national response. The Joint Review process is led by the national Government and involves participation at all government levels, as well as by civil society organizations, networks of people living with HIV, local and district authorities, and international donors and organizations.

“Joint Reviews of National AIDS Responses: A Guidance Paper”.

With the lessons learned from the Joint Review processes in Kenya and other countries, UNAIDS has developed a new publication entitled “Joint Reviews of National AIDS Responses: A Guidance Paper”. It aims to help countries conduct Joint Reviews and improve coordination, implementation and funding effectiveness among the many stakeholders involved in national responses.

Well carried out Joint Reviews provide a truly nationally-led forum for sharing information, achievements, shortfalls, challenges and emerging issues, and assessing how well efforts and spending are aligned in meeting the goals of the national AIDS strategy.

Kenya has undertaken in 2007 the 6th consecutive Joint Review of its national response and the process has become a valued method for building bridges and coalitions among the many groups involved in the AIDS response.

A Guidance Paper”.

With the lessons learned from the Joint Review processes in Kenya and other countries, UNAIDS has developed a new publication entitled “Joint Reviews of National AIDS Responses: A Guidance Paper”.

Kenya’s 2007 Joint Review lasted two and a half months and involved hundreds of participants – not a quick or easy process, but well worth the effort. The Review is widely recognized by those working on AIDS as a platform for bringing together data from a range of sectors and levels, including surveillance and service delivery data, as well as qualitative data collected at the community level. The 2007 Review was more inclusive than ever, with participants from all 71 districts and nine regions of the country. The findings and recommendations were used to revise the way the country measures the results of AIDS programmes, and also to inform planning at district and regional levels. The effort of doing regular participatory joint reviews has resulted in more alignment, collaboration and commitment among the many organizations involved in the Kenyan AIDS response.

Anatomy of a Joint Review

The new Guidance Paper gives specific advice for conducting a successful Joint Review. However, just as every country’s AIDS epidemic and response is different, the Joint Review process in each country will differ according to the national political environment, health and social policies, infrastructure, economic development and other factors. Nonetheless, the Guidance Paper lays out several principles which should help build a strong Joint Review process in any country, including:

  1. national ownership
  2. inclusion and participation
  3. commitment to results – participants must agree from the outset to subscribe to the recommendations of the Review
  4. impartiality
  5. evidence informed
  6. enhancing national planning
  7. sensitivity to gender and human rights.

The Joint Annual Programme Review process is a vital tool in the global effort by governments and development organizations to ‘make the money work’ – ensuring that all AIDS funds are linked to national objectives and simplifying aid structures. In Kenya, for example, the Joint Review process has helped to strengthen donors’ confidence in the quality and effectiveness of national programmes.The new Guidance Paper on Joint Reviews, along with other related tools, is designed to help countries unite the many stakeholders involved in the AIDS response, in order to increase understanding of the epidemic and work collectively to achieve results.

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    A blog created to cover environmental and political information in Kenya with a view to promoting POVERTY ALLEVIATION through creating awareness of the Millennium Development Goals

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