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ActionAid Country Director tasks Gambians

Jun 9, 2010, 12:27 PM | Article By: Alieu O. Jabang

"I want to remind you that as a country we have by this project committed ourselves to halt and reverse the prevalence of HIV infection from 2.8% to 2% by 2013, through the provision of comprehensive HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support throughout the country. This is a lofty goal, the achievement of which requires our collective sustained and timely efforts. This cannot be done without strong programme monitoring and evaluation systems and structure, and the commitment of all."

These were the words of Dr. Kujaijatou Manneh Jallow ActionAid Country Director at the opening of a three-day workshop on monitoring and evaluation systems funded by the Global Fund.

According to Dr. Manneh-Jallow, the Global Fund is well aware of this, and that was one of the reasons it approved the conduct of this workshop on monitoring and evaluation system.

The workshop will give the participants an opportunity to critically assess the M and E system both at the level of principal recipients and sub-recipients to identify the strengths and weaknesses, and to develop a costed action plan to address identified gaps, she added.

"This is critical for us, as it will not only help us to achieve our targets as planned, but it is a condition precedent to the second disbursement of funds for grants implementation."

"Therefore," she continued, "I wish to emphasise the importance of the effective use of our time, during the three days we are scheduled to spend here, and to come out with an excellent report and plan that are adequate enough to support and guide M &E and the programme of work of the project."

"I am sure you are aware that the Round 8 HIV projects are worth millions of Dalasi provided to us by the Global Fund on behalf of the Gambian people, be it HIV/AIDS positive or negative. Therefore, we owe it to them to serve them in the best possible manner we can, to ensure effective and efficient delivery of project deliverables,"she went on.

Dr. Kujaijatou Manneh Jallow challenged the participants to take advantage of the knowledge and experience that they will gain from the workshop in the interest of the whole country.

Alieu Jammeh Director of the National AIDS Secretariat also called on the participants to be co-operative during the workshop. This will help in coming out with accurate and concrete facts in order to bring about solutions in addressing the problems and spread of HIV and AIDS in our communities, he said.

Dr. Saidu a consultant from the Republic of Benin, who is expected to lead in the facilitation of the workshop, also called on the participants to cooperate during the workshop so as to achieve their goals and aspirations.

As beneficiaries of the funding, the health project manager of the Agency for the Development of Women and Children (ADWAC), Hamat Joof, said the workshop, among other things, will enable them to acquire first-hand information and evaluate themselves and their programmes to bring solutions to the HIV and AIDS problem.

"As beneficiary partners", he stated, "this will benefit us a lot from this training and our people who are the sole beneficiaries will gain a lot as well." He said it would also help in reducing the spread of the HIV/AIDS in the country.

Mr. Joof said health is everybody's business whether poor or rich, educated or illiterate, black or white and, therefore, it should be everybody's business to bring in or contribute to the solutions to major health problems.

Lamin Ceesay the president and co-ordinator of Santa Yalla Support Society said the workshop is not only important in bringing about solutions to HIV/AIDS, but it will go an extra mile in reminding people of their responsibilities as citizens to help contribute their quota to control the deadly disease.

Mr. Ceesay thanked the organisers for their gesture, and called on the government to make it mandatory on every person residing in the Gambia, especially the citizenry to take the HIV and AIDS test for easy control of its spread.

"This is the only way we can know the status and percentage of people in the country's infected with HIV and AIDS", he added.

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