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HIV prevention roadmap 2020 launched

May 15, 2018 3 min read

MASERU - The National AIDS Commission (NAC) on Monday May 14 launched the Lesotho HIV Prevention Roadmap 2020 providing the basis for a country-led movement to scale up HIV prevention programmes.

The programmes form part of a comprehensive response to meet global and national targets and commitments to end HIV and AIDS as a public threat by 2030 and the roadmap was adopted and validated through a consultative process in Lesotho that brought together country organisations including civil society organisations, networks of people living with HIV, representatives of key populations, and international organisations to agree on the way forward to achieving global HIV prevention goals 2020.


The roadmap target-setting guidance was drawn from the UNAIDS and localised to suit the context of Lesotho and strives to accelerate HIV prevention to reduce new infections by 75 percent per the exceptional international and national efforts needed to intensify HIV prevention to meet commitments to end the AIDS epidemic in Lesotho.


It became evident during the presentations of the HIV Roadmap 2020 launch that while Lesotho has made significant progress on treatment coverage in the past five years, progress on primary prevention has however been the weakest in the national response. The results from the Lesotho Population-based HIV Impact Assessment 2017 (LEPHIA) however show that Lesotho has made substantial progress towards the global 90-90-90 by 2020 targets at 77-90-88 respectively. The National Prevention Roadmap 2020 thus serves as a joint guiding tool for national scale up of HIV prevention initiatives outlining 10 action points envisaged for implementing to ensure a common vision of reaching the targets on HIV prevention are reached.


Officiating the launch on behalf of the Minister of Health, the Ministry’s Principal Secretary (PS) Mr Monaphathi Maraka translated the strategy into being innovative to reach out to men since studies indicate women get tested and are linked to treatment as most are immunosuppressant. He said the same findings reveal women’s adherence to treatment to giving birth to HIV negative children whilst men do not come anywhere near hence the need to encourage them to attend health services.


Mr Maraka emphasised the need for Ministry of Health and its partners to roll out services focused on supporting men to bridge the gap. He expressed the determination to close the gap between his Ministry and the NAC because relations and collaboration are important and should be intentional in applying the monitoring and evaluation. He however lamented that the Ministry is among others that have allegedly collapsed due to a lack of men and women determined to lead the IV and AIDS infection reduction.

 


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“There is a need to develop a consolidated development capacity because if one has a concern, there should be commitment then capacity,” he asserted adding that without the latter aspect, commitment becomes nothing. He urged all who manage HIV and AIDS projects to serve diligently and avoid returns of funds due to underutilisation and that they should have a monitoring mechanism in place for the projects.


NAC’s Policy and Strategy Manager Maja Matsoha on giving the background overview of the Lesotho HIV Prevention Roadmap 2020 asserted that the slow decline of new infections threatens further progress towards ending HIV and AIDS. She said the prevention index maps out current prevention initiative gaps and was conducted in May 2017 and adding that prevention assessment followed thematic analysis of key issues related to prevention in Lesotho with recommendation for remedial action in August 2017.


Ms Matsoha noted that prevention consultants reconfirmed impact targets of2020 with a list of proposed changes in policies to create an enabling environment for prevention programmes, adolescent, young women and key populations. The call of action comprising a 10-point acceleration plan for HIV prevention at country level, she said lays out the immediate concrete steps that Lesotho is committed to take to accelerate progress towards meeting its commitment on HIV prevention.


The roadmap launch meanwhile comes at a very critical time for Lesotho as the country has just launched the HIV and Health Situation Room which is an innovation expected to hopefully help her improve the HIV response to achieve the 90-90-90 targets. This is the same time that the country is finalising the National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS.
Lena

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