Friday, June 10, 2011

Faith-Based Action to Achieve Universal Access

“Faith- Based Action to Achieve Universal Access- Confronting the Impact of Funding Cutbacks and Advocating for the Special Needs of Mothers and Children Living with HIV” (June 8, 2011)
This side event, held in conjunction with the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, focused on Catholic Church- sponsored programs with regard to the impact of funding cutbacks and flat-lining children and women living with or affected by HIV. Panelists included a number of experts in the field. Dr Paul De Lay of UNAIDS described how 10 years ago everyone thought that there was a limitless supply of money, until two years ago when they faced a flat-line. He described the 4 milestones of the faith-based organizations’ (FBOs) AIDS programs, which are bridging the health sector with ministries and the private sector, meaningfully engaging those mostly affected, debating the issue of gender inequality, and openly discussing sexuality. Becky Johnson of CHAN discussed the outcomes of a report done on developing countries; as of end of 2010, 6.6 million people are on anti retroviral treatment (ART) with 9 million still left without medications. Organizations are facing flat-lining and budget cuts because there is no commitment for funding. She praised FBOs for providing up to 70% of health services in African rural areas and providing ARTs to over 90,000 people. Reverend Vitillo of Caritas mentioned some obstacles to universal access including a lack of access to fixed-dose medicine combinations and late or no diagnoses for pregnant women. He also stressed the need to address multiple infections, not only HIV. Moreover, Sr. Alison Munro of South African Catholic Bishop’s Conference highlighted the unsustainability of treatment costs, the fear of stigmas and thus non-disclosure, and the insufficient health personnel in some public sectors, such as South Africa.
Dalia Sayess from Global Action on Aging


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