Positioning fight against HIV/AIDS in the post-2015 agenda
This year marks 30 years, since HIV/AIDS was discovered. After more than three decades of destruction, one may conclude that as the global community, we are finally at a turning point and on course to winning the battle against HIV/AIDS.
Since scientists discovered the disease during the 1980s, nearly 78 million people across the globe have contracted HIV and close to 39 million have died of AIDS-related causes – this is according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
And more than 70 percent or 24.7 million of people living with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2013, an estimated 1.5 million people in the region were reportedly infected with the virus. An estimated 1.1 million adults and children died of AIDS, accounting for 73 percent of the world’s AIDS deaths in 2013.
Following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, the global community established the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight ambitious international development goals that were aimed at stemming the greatest challenges facing developing countries including HIV/AIDS.
The MDGs, as they are popularly known, range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education by 2015.
Notable progress especially towards meeting targets such as goal 4, 5 and 6, which calls for reduction in child mortality, reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health as well as combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases have been recorded around the world.
But with less than 15 months to go before the MDGs achievement target dateline in 2015, the verdict out there indicates that more still needs to be done to prevent loss of lives, mostly due to HIV/AIDS.
The global community under the auspices of UN has been pre-occupied with a new global development agenda to replace the MDGs.
This is a critical moment, and it is important that the post-2015 agenda must include concrete steps to finding lasting solutions to HIV/AIDS by 2030 and also deliver on the promise of sustainable development.
Eradicating HIV/AIDS will require strong commitments from governments that are ultimately responsible at national levels to deal with the pandemic.
It requires improved monitoring and accountability mechanisms, and investments in all aspects of the HIV response. It further requires strengthened partnerships with civil society, and the general population.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has remarked that, “the post-2015 agenda needs to prioritize the target of ending AIDS, not only to aver profound human suffering but also as a catalyst towards a fairer, healthier and more just world”.
One can deduce from the UN boss’ remarks that apart from that countries need to invest heavily in health sector as that strategy is reportedly bearing fruits in countries that place health on top of their budget.
For many years, the Namibian Government has been allocating a substantial amount of its national budget to the health sector and to date the country is reportedly making significant strides to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other communicable diseases.
Due to the fact that the HIV impact is felt not just by the individuals and their family, but also at community and national levels, it is imperative that the post-2015 development framework should deliver real progress for people languishing in poverty and other factors that fuel the spread of HIV.
The Post-2015 Development Agenda must be built on shared values of solidarity, universality, equality, participation and accountability.
An inclusive approach is vital if groups who experience discrimination, vulnerability and poverty, such as people living with HIV and AIDS, are to be integrated and prioritised.
Therefore our responsibility, as development practitioners, civil society and the international community, is to stand by countries and the most affected people of the world to make the eradication of the HIV/AIDS epidemic a reality.