HIV AIDS organisations to highlight progress and lessons learned

Empower & Inspire: Spread Health & Wellness

HIV/AIDS implementers from around the world will gather in Kampala, Uganda, from June 3-7 for the 2008 HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting. Recognizing the rapid expansion of HIV/AIDS programs worldwide, the focus of this year’s meeting is building the capacity of local prevention, treatment, and care programs; enhancing quality; and promoting coordination among partners.

The meeting’s theme is “Scaling Up Through Partnerships: Overcoming Obstacles to Implementation.” A total of 1,700 attendees are expected, representing governments, non-governmental organizations including faith- and community-based groups, multilateral organizations, the private sector, and groups of people living with HIV/AIDS. Through presentations, dialogue and networking, participants will identify critical barriers and share information that will directly impact HIV/AIDS program implementation in the coming years.

“The experience in Uganda in fighting HIV/AIDS is a true reflection of the meeting’s theme,” said Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, Director General of the Uganda AIDS Commission. “Uganda’s achievements in fighting the epidemic cannot be attributed to a single stakeholder or even a cluster of stakeholders, but the collective efforts of all.”

Building on the 2007 Implementers’ meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda, the meeting is hosted by the Government of Uganda and is once again sponsored by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; UNAIDS; UNICEF; the World Bank; the World Health Organization; and the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS.

“The achievements in the global response to HIV/AIDS in recent years are rooted in the partnerships with host nations to build their systems and to empower individuals, communities and nations to tackle their epidemics,” said Ambassador Mark Dybul, PEPFAR Coordinator. “The 2008 Implementers’ Meeting is an opportunity for all partners to come together to share ideas to further strengthen the global response.”

“The scale up of AIDS programs now taking place in Africa and the rest of the world is generating tremendous knowledge and experience,” said Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “Through the annual Implementers’ Meeting, we can ensure that this knowledge is shared and work becomes more effective and has stronger impact as we move towards universal access to AIDS treatment and prevention services.”

Six themes for the meeting have been identified that cut across all areas of HIV/AIDS programming: monitoring and evaluation for impact improvement, human capacity development, knowing your epidemic and response, coordination and harmonization, linking people with resources, and integration of services.

“Sharing best practices and lessons learned in implementing programs is an essential part of informing future AIDS programming,” said Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS. “The first meeting took place in Kigali last year and I look forward to seeing the progress made in scaling up the response to the epidemic and overcoming the barriers to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” he added.

“Programs to prevent HIV transmission from mother to newborn, to diagnose and treat HIV-positive children, to prevent infections among adolescents and to care for orphans and children affected by AIDS are now part of the AIDS strategies of nearly every country,” said Jimmy Kolker, Chief of the HIV and AIDS Section at UNICEF. “Coming together to share best practices will move us closer to an AIDS-free generation. Kampala will reaffirm the priority that the global community must continue to give to the fight against AIDS.”

Source: UNICEF, Geneva

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