Times of India
09 September 2011
Jaipur , India
Expressing concern over the figures that two out of three HIV patients in South–East Asia do not get life–saving drugs, the 11 member states of the region endorsed WHO’s “Regional Health Sector Strategy on HIV (2011–2015)” here on Thursday.
Through this regional strategy, WHO urged member countries to achieve universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care and to contribute to health– related millennium development goals (MDGs), particularly MDG 6 (combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases). To ensure this, primary healthcare needs to be revitalised, and health services integrated to strengthen links between HIV, TB, sexual, reproductive health and maternal and child health. The goals are guided by principles that include tackling the social determinants of health that drive the epidemic and also hinder the response; protecting human rights and promoting gender equality; and integrating HIV and other health services.
A WHO official said countries must prioritise advocacy for reducing drug prices, train and sensitise health workers and minimise HIVrelated stigma in healthcare settings. HIV testing and counselling needs to be decentralised to enable people to know their HIV status.
The goals of the regional strategy are to achieve universal access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment and care. The second goal is to contribute to the achievement of millennium development goal 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases) and other health–related goals (MDGs 3, 4, 5 and 8) and associated targets.
WHO has four strategic directions to achieve the goals, one is to optimise HIV prevention, care and treatment. This includes preventing sexual transmission of HIV, eliminating congenital syphilis, access to safe blood transfusion, comprehensive and integrated services for sex workers, homosexuals, people who use drugs, young, displaced, mobile and migrant populations.
The second direction is to strengthen strategic information systems for HIV research, as information on the various aspects of the issue is crucial in guiding policy and decision–making. The third is to strengthening health systems so that HIV services are part of other essential services that are available, accessible and affordable. The fourth direction is creating a supportive environment to ensure that everyone has equitable access to HIV services.
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