Gambia launches its HIV/AIDS catch up plan

Monday, March 05, 2018

After several other west and central African countries, The Gambia officially launched its HIV/AIDS catch up plan in presence of Dr. Djibril Diallo, the UNAIDS Regional Director for West and Central Africa and Mrs Sirra Horeja Ndow, UNAIDS Country Office Director.

The West and Central Africa Regional Catch Up Plan was developed in the wake of the 2016 United Nations High-Level meeting on Ending AIDS, where the Chairs of the Assemblies of Health Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States and the Economic Community of Central African States, UNAIDS and partners called for an urgent response that supports countries in Western and Central Africa in reaching a trajectory to meet the Fast-Track Targets by 2020.and later endorsed at the African Summit in July 2016.

The Gambia Catch Up Plan (2018 – 2020) launched and attended by over 80 key stakeholders involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS was built through a participatory process under the leadership of the National Aids Secretariat and supported by UNAIDS.  The total cost of The Gambia Catch up Plan is US$22,676,029.12. With available resources estimated at US$ 5,086,314.31 million, the funding gap for the Plan is US$ 17,589,714.84 million to close the existing treatment gap to ensure the attainment of the 3 90s (90% of People living with HIV and AIDS know their status, 90% of people living with HIV and Aids on treatment and 90% of people on treatment virally suppressed) and to be on the track to ending AIDS in The Gambia by 2030.

The Plan comes at an opportune time when the country has transitioned to a new democratic dispensation. This not only opens an opportunity to reposition the national HIV and AIDS response but provides possibilities of mobilizing new funding and partnerships both domestically and from the international community. It is also a commitment for renewed efforts to galvanize innovative actions from all segments of Gambian society to put the country on a sustainable path of ending AIDs as a public health threat by 2030.  Moreover it is an opportunity for policy shifts that will enable the country to tackle many of the sensitive AIDS-related issues touching on certain segments of society, particularly for the PLHIV community and to be integrated in the country efforts of resource mobilization for the new national development plan.

During Dr Diallo visit, the plan was presented to His Excellency the President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow by the Dr Djibril Diallo.  His Excellency President Barrow has committed the Government of The Gambia’s full support to ensure the effective implementation of the Gambia Catch up Plan and the closing of the funding and treatment gap by 2020.

Dr Diallo also presented the campaign for the popularisation of the SDGs using education as an entry point and formally requested HE President Barrow to be a champion for the campaign. HE President Adama Barrow welcomed the initiative and accepted the nomination expressing his profound honour and gratitude to partner with the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network.

During his visit, Dr Diallo met and discussed with the First Lady of the Republic of The Gambia, the ministers of Secondary Education, Her Excellency, the American Ambassador, the United Nations Country Team, the UN Joint Team, the National Aids Secretariat, representative from the Ministry of Health, National Aids, the CCM, Action Aid International The Gambia and other NGOS, senior government officials and PLHIV community.