A civil society, ANSP+ has engaged media and local health workers in a workshop aiming at promoting the delivery of friendly HIV services delivery to key populations in the framework of Fast Track agenda for controlling AIDS in Rwanda.
Organized in the framework of national response to AIDS, the meeting was attended by representatives of professional media and representatives of health service providers especially from Musanze district. He presenters have highlighted that the national response to the HIV epidemic has been encouraging. HIV Testing Services are available in 99% of health facilities; PMTCT coverage is almost universal (99% of HIV positive pregnant women receive ARVs).
Rwanda has stabilized HIV prevalence at 3% in the general population since the last decade but much higher rates among key populations and in urban areas (6.3% in the City of Kigali). Among female sex workers the HIV prevalence is estimated at around 45.8% overall but 55.5% in Kigali, the capital cit
The presenter made a reference to this year’s World AIDS day theme: “Get up all against HIV/AIDS-Still there’, it was mentioned that the theme calls for action from everyone including media professionals, local journalists, health service providers to promote availability of HIV prevention and treatment services and sensitize members of key populations especially female sex workers and MSM to seek services.
The crucial role of the media in the mobilization for the prevention of HIV and fight against AIDS is quite important to always update it with effective knowledge and working skills that can be applicable in their advocative interventions.
The association is complemented by the UNAIDS in organizing the two day training workshop that will also relate their partners to national policies and friendlier health service delivery to key populations.
Speaking at the opening of the training workshop, UNAIDS country director Dr. Betru Woldesemayat, appreciated the leadership of Rwanda in the response to AIDS epidemic. He mentioned that the country has made great achievements “at this stage it is important to sustain the gains” he said. Continued collaboration in supporting interventions that are used to prevent new HIV infection and promote retention in care programs is essential reiterated Dr Betru.
He urged media and other partners, reminding them that the global commitment is to end AIDS buy 2030 which needs to be continued with support and complementing interventions.
A representative of ANSP+ (a civil society organization working with key populations) mentioned the importance of promoting friendly services to key populations “It is very important to key populations’ members to access friendly services as it helps to increase retention in care programs particularly because HIV prevalence is high in female sex workers and MSM” said Mrs Deborah.
In his presentation, Mr Ruturwa from UNAIDS Community support Adviser mentioned among others that Tremendous progress against AIDS over the last 15 years have inspired a global commitment to end the epidemic by 2030. In that framework the United Nations General Assembly agreed in June 2016 that ending AIDS by 2030 requires a Fast–Track response to reach three milestones by 2020: Reduce new HIV infections to fewer than 500 000 globally by 2020; Reduce AIDS-related deaths to fewer than 500 000 globally by 2020 and Eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination by 2020. http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/2016-prevention-gap-report_en.pdf
Deborah Mukasekuru, the ANSP+ coordinator, added that the associations is putting focus on those that are most vulnerable to HIV infection and addressing AIDS related socio – economic impact.
Such important meeting workshop is very important as they provide opportunity to think about strategies to advance evidence – informed programs to close the gap in HIV prevention, treatment care and support.
Uwamariya Marie Claire the vice Mayor in charge of social affairs from Musanze District, appreciated the initiative of bringing together health professionals, media journalists and representatives of key populations to discuss on strategies to ensure access to HIV services. It is important that RBC and its partners are considering accelerating response to AIDS especially in cities including kigali and other cities such as Musanze. This will contribute greatly to the attainment of national targets and sustainable development of the country. She mentioned.
The meeting was concluded with key recommendations to scale up prevention of new HIV infections among key populations a roadmap for continuous collaboration with media was developed.