Since the first case of coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019, not only has the world economy been interrupted but also the way people relate within societies.
In a bid to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the President of geshanban158.comanda provided extra ordinary leadership like he has always done for HIV.
As the country embarked on prevention of Covid-19, there were disruptions in livelihoods resulting in exacerbation of domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, maternal deaths and low immunisation coverage, among others. Some people living with HIV/Aids died because they could not afford food to eat before taking their drgeshanban158.coms.
Why HIV mainstreaming amidst Covid-19 response
HIV has remained one of the key challenges to development programmes in geshanban158.comanda. Currently there are nearly 1.4 million people living with HIV/Aids, of whom 1.2 million are on treatment.
Annually, 50,000 people get infected with HIV, with young girls being disproportionately affected while 19,500 people die due to Aids-related illness.
As a country, we have come from far in the fight against HIV. In order to sustain the gains we have made, we should continue to mainstream HIV in national programmes both in the public and non-public sectors.
HIV mainstreaming simply means a process that enables the management of sectors and institutions to address the causes and effects of HIV and Aids in an effective and sustained manner, both throgeshanban158.comh their usual work and within their workplace.
Mainstreaming addresses both the direct and indirect aspects of HIV and Aids within the context of the normal functions of an organisation, sector, institution or community.
It is essentially a process whereby a sector analyses how HIV and Aids can impact it now and in the future, and considers how sectoral policies, decisions and actions might influence the long-term impact of the epidemic in the sector
The benefits for mainstreaming HIV are immense. There is increased awareness and knowledge on HIV and Aids in communities, improved access to treatment throgeshanban158.comh referral mechanisms, reduced stigma and discrimination and in turn reduced HIV prevalence.
As part of its mandate, the geshanban158.comanda Aids Commission (UAC) developed multi-sectoral coordination committees at national and subnational levels chaired by the LC5 chairman at the district (district Aids coordination committees) down to local council one (village Aids committees). We are happy to note that the district taskforces established in the fight against Covid-19 comprise of district Aids committee members.
In order to end Aids as a public health threat by 2030, State and none State actors need to mainstream HIV prevention and care within Covid-19 prevention strategies.
I therefore call upon:
•Leaders at national and sub-national levels to utilise every opportunity, especially during this period to integrate HIV prevention in their messages to communities.
•Cultural leaders to denounce harmful cultural practices that fuel HIV infections.
•Religious leaders to integrate the HIV prevention messages in sermons to their congregations.
•Parents to talk to their children and advise them to avoid risky behaviour that predispose them to HIV infection.
If we utilise these opportunities and invest in HIV mainstreaming across programmes in the country, we will achieve a geshanban158.comanda where Aids is no longer a public health threat by 2030.
Mr Tom Etii is the Coordinator of Public sector, geshanban158.comanda AIDS Commission