Nov 8, 2011, 12:39 PM
A five-day regional training on treatment literacy and consultancy on community observatories for treatment access in West Africa has wraps up at the Paradise Suite Hotel.
The training, which brought participants from ten countries within the sub-region, is organised by the Gambia Network of Aids Support Societies (GAMNASS) in collaboration with Mutapola Voices of Women Living with HIV - Gambia, International Treatment Preparedness Coalition ITPC, Africaso, IPC Alliance, RAME, and the joint United Nations programmes on Aids-UNAIDS.
The overall objectives of the workshop is to build the advocacy capacity of people living with Hiv and key partners for improved provision and use of quality antiretroviral treatment and services as part of global goal-attaining universal access.The training will also help to reinforce advocacy and partnership by establishing a regional monitoring body that can early detect stock of drugs and identify other key bottlenecks that impede the renewed efforts and commitment of getting to zero - Zero New infections, Zero Hiv related stigma and discrimination and Zero Aids Deaths.
Speaking at the forum, Nuha Ceesay, UNAIDS country Office - The Gambia, described the meeting as essential since in June 2011 the international community renewed its commitment by setting bold and ambitious targets to get 15 million people on Hiv Treatment by 2015.
According to the global estimates compiled jointly by UNAIDS and WHO, in the course of a quarter of a century, HIV has infected close to 60 million people, and killed nearly 25 million people, says Mr Ceesay.
Deputizing the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic affairs, DPS Kumba Conateh NAM, said holding of the meeting is a demonstration of their personal commitment to accelerate the translation of global, regional and national commitment to attain universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support particularly in our respective countries.
She added that there has been much progress since the 1980s when the first AIDs case and the pandemic became a public and global development challenge. He added that in The Gambia partnership in the response to HIV has been very impressive and unprecedented with key stakeholders from civil society, the private sector, faith-based organization, people living with HIV, bilateral and multilateral agencies all joining hands with the Government of The Gambia to contribute their quota, in response, to HIV and AIDS and the attainment of universal access.
The regional coordinator of International Treatment Preparedness Coalition - West Africa Sylvere B. Bukiki, said the epidemic of HIV-aids has become a global, national and local concern in view of its adverse effect on the human socio-economic development.
He explained that when ITPC was formed in 2003, fewer than 4,000,000 people were on antiretroviral treatment in low-and middle-come countries worldwide. Today less than a decade later, that number has risen to nearly 6 million. This remarkable development is due in part largely to increased global and local advocacy for treatment.
Fatima Gai, president of GAMNASS, said the emergency footing of the response over the past 30 years, the broad social mobilization of stakeholders has spearheaded remarkable action and results.
Director of NAS, Alieu Jammeh, said ITPC has set the mission of working to promote access to treatment and quality services in the West African region and thus the reason for organizing such an important workshop for treatment education and advocacy for universal access to treatment.