May 10, 2013, 12:18 PM
The National Aids Secretariat (NAS), in collaboration with Global Fund, Action-aid, other development partners, and various stakeholders, Tuesday converged at the Baobab Hotel to validate the National Hiv/Aids policy draft document for 2014.
The convergence was meant to accord the stakeholders the opportunity to look at the draft document and made constructive criticism, recommendation and carve the way forward for a better document that could be used as a working tool in the best interest of the country.
Dawda Ceesay, deputy permanent secretary, technical, at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, expressed delight to be associated with the validation exercise of the HIV/Aid policy 2014.
He noted that the theme of the document is ‘Zero new Hiv infections, Zero Hiv related deaths, Zero discrimination of people living with HIV in The Gambia.’
He further noted that with the huge expertise assembled in this convergence, they would come out with concrete recommendations on how they could make substantial progress towards the finalization of the draft document.
Mr Ceesay said the validation should examine ways to accelerate the implementation of the great ideas contained in the document and the means of strengthening the Hiv/aids national response.
There was need to move forward with the coordination mechanism and establishment of an effective management systems structure, preparation of new protocols, financing and how to best reposition the HIV/aid intervention as it draws closer to the 2015 deadline of the MDGs.
He went on to say that the validation will be reflecting on HIV/AIDS control and sustainable development, contribution of the local private sector to the production of Antiretroviral Drugs (ARVs), which constituted 2013 WAHO day celebration in The Gambia.
According to DPS Ceesay, over the years, The Gambia has made tremendous progress in reducing morbidity and mortality related to HIV/AIDS.
However, he noted that additional efforts are required for the country to achieve universal access to a comprehensive prevention, treatment and care package.
“This policy will provide the framework for the delivery of a comprehensive national response to HIV/aids burden reductions,” he said.
The meeting would review and discuss policy priorities and ensure that they are aligned to the National Health Policy, the PAGE and Vision 2020 National Development Blueprint, he stated.
He said the validation and finalizing of the policy document has great potential to ensure harmonization of procedures and serves as a tool to guide their management and response to the HIV/aid pandemic.
Ousman Badjie, Director of National Aids Secretariat, attaches great importance to the national exercise, which was the validation of the National Hiv/aids draft policy document 2014.
He noted that the purpose of the validation was to look at the document and add inputs to it to put proper policy in place, to serve as a working tool for the next five years to come.
He said the validation would accord the stakeholders the opportunity to respond to the fight against Hiv/AIDS and provide the right direction in responding effectively to the fight against the menace.
The rationale was to get appropriate policy, legal and administrative framework for the accelerated control of infection and protection of the human rights of those uninfected and at risk of infection, as well as those infected and affected, he stated.
He tasked the participants to do justice to the document for the benefit of the Gambian population, while advising them to look at the document carefully to make necessary inputs and adjustments.