SANA'A, May 12 (Saba)- A three-year (2008-2010) programme document on "Developing National Capacities to Address HIV/AIDS in Yemen (Phase-II)" was singed on Monday by Yemen and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In a press release of UNDP, the $10.6 million programme document, which is financed by the Global Fund, aims to support the Government of Yemen to maintain HIV prevalence rate amongst the general Yemeni population and high risk and vulnerable groups be stabilized, and the internationally recognized rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAs), including entitlement to humane medical care, are upheld by 2010.
The programme document was signed by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Abdul-Karim al-Arhabi and the Acting Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Yemen Dr. Selva Ramachandran.
The programme also aims to increase coverage of HIV/AIDS- safe blood for transfusion, and to establish and enforce national blood safety standards. Moreover, the programme will also build national capacity in the health sector and other sectors to address HIV/AIDS in Yemen through scaling up of activities in the areas of awareness raising among leaders at all levels, the general population and the already identified high-risk and vulnerable groups.
The Civil Society Organizations will play a major role in awareness raising and advocacy under this programme.
Worldwide, HIV/AIDS is a controversial pandemic issue. The consequence of the HIV/AIDS has evidently been seen over many countries in the World and particular in the African Continent. This pandemic has dramatically contributed in reversal of human development in many countries, and also shaken most of their economies and productivity; particularly in Africa.
For instance, in 2007, 33.2 million people – more than Yemeni population - were estimated to be living with HIV, 2.5 million people became newly infected and 2.1, a million people died of AIDS. Regarding the Middle East and North Africa, it is estimated that 35,000 people acquired HIV in 2007, bringing to 380,000 the total number of people living with HIV in the region. As a result of AIDS-related illnesses, an estimated 25,000 people died in 2007.
Yemen was one of the first few countries in the region to address the HIV/AIDS within its national development agenda. A National HIV/AIDS Strategy was prepared in a participatory manner and approved by the Government in 2001. Since then, a number of initiatives were undertaken, which has resulted in the establishment of a National multisectoral HIV/AIDS Task Force in 2003 and approval of multisectoral strategic framework by the Cabinet.
Building from the already existing good partnership among HIV/AIDS stakeholders (including Countries Coordination Mechanism (CCM)) in Yemen, UNDP as a Principal Recipient and implementing agent for this Global Fund financed programme, will be assisting the Government of Yemen in fostering "Partnership for Development" in order to ensure fully involvement of all stakeholders (including, United Nations System, Private Sector and Civil Society Organizations) in addressing HIV/AIDS in Yemen.