HIV in Africa: Five strategies reversing the epidemic

HIV in Africa: Five strategies reversing the epidemic
There have been five strategies that have proven to be successful in halting and even reversing the HIV epidemic in Africa, according to Michel Sidibe, the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

“Africa has been relentless in its quest to turn the AIDS epidemic around,” Sidibe said.

Sidibe points to  five strategies in the AIDS response.  He is convinced that if people around the world approach how they deal with the HIV epidemic by incorporating these strategies, overall global health will also improve.

The five strategies are:

1.) Focusing on people, not diseases

2.) Leveraging the strength of culture and communities

3.) Building strong, accountable global heath institutions

4.) Mobilizing both domestic and international financial commitments

5.) Elevating health as a force for social transformation.

The report Sidibe discusses these five strategies in is called  Update. Sustained attention to the AIDS response post-2015 will enhance progress on other global health priorities, according to Mr. Sidibe in the UNAIDS report.

“These strategies have been fundamental to Africa’s success at halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic and will support the next 50 years of better health, across borders and across diseases,” Sidibe stated.

The bad news is that UNAIDS substantiates that there are more than 7 million people now on HIV treatment across Africa. Nearly one million of these were added in the last year alone.

Also,  though there have been some positive trends, Africa continues to be more affected by HIV than any other region of the world. Sixty-nine per cent  of people living with HIV globally are from Africa.

In 2011 there were still 1.8 million new HIV infections across the continent, and 1.2 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses.

Ninety per cent of the 30 million AIDS deaths related to HIV have occurred in Africa  since the virus that causes the disease was identified 30 years ago.

The good news is that, according to a United Nations report which documents the progress in the AIDS response in the world’s second largest continent,  the number of people in Africa who are now receiving antiretroviral treatment has increased from less than 1 million to 7.1 million over seven years.

According to the report,  there are sixteen countries in Africa which are working to ensure that more than three-fourths of pregnant women living with HIV receive antiretroviral medicine to prevent transmission to their child.

These countries are: Botswana, Ghana, Gambia, Gabon, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Sidibe takes heart in the fact that the five strategies he has implemented and the increase in the amount of people who receive the antiretroviral treatment have worked to help halt and even reduce the numbers of deaths caused by the HIV epidemic. From 2005 to 2011, AIDS-related deaths in Africa were reduced by thirty-two per cent.

This year’s Summit, AIDS Watch Africa, besides dealing with the topics of  the importance of advocacy and accountability regarding AIDS, will also focus on the health issues related to  tuberculosis and malaria.

African health care professionals who are experts on these subjects will additionally review progress on health governance, financing, and access to quality medicines, among other areas.  They will work together to assess  whether national, regional, continental and global stakeholders have met their commitments.

Africa has made great strides towards reversing the HIV epidemic by following   the five strategies that Michel Sidibe discusses in his UNAIDS report, Update.

Having a balanced approach, in combination with the efforts of UNAIDS  and other health professionals to make antiretroviral treatment available to all socioeconomic sectors of the African population,  are some of the keys to the eventual eradication of HIV in Africa and the world.

Written By: Douglas Cobb

 

7 Responses to HIV in Africa: Five strategies reversing the epidemic

  1. Sampson May 29, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    I think that is the issue now. All strategies should be those that ensure sustantial African countries involvement in terms funding Health Programs not even only HIV. This will help build systems for sustainability.

    Reply
  2. Douglas Cobb May 23, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    The Update report is at: http://www.unaids.org/en/

    Reply
  3. Rosemary Mburu May 23, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks Douglas for sharing . Which report are you referring to and how can we access it?

    Reply
  4. Douglas Cobb May 23, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Thanks for oyur commentAmusaa. His report does actualy contain much more information than what I mainly focused on, but I was just highlighting the five points to help spread awareness of the good work UNAIDS is doing in Africa.

    Reply
  5. Amusaa May 23, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Sidibe should present more useful information – as its common knowledge that HIV and AIDS management requires combination of strategies to succeed including the strategies he has suggested. However, the key constraint is to get the African countries to increase accountability for the resources allocated to fighting HIV and AIDS – Accountability in form of better resource management and better monitoring for results indicators rather than the donor driven output indicators to enable the continent to focus on effective programming rather than knee jerk reaction to donor demands. Time the African continent put in more local resources in the program to make HIV and AIDS a development issue by effective mainstreaming of activities into development interventions.

    Reply

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