HIV & AIDS

 {Photo credit: Charles Fred via flickr}HIV poster in Vietnam.Photo credit: Charles Fred via flickr

This post includes portions of the introduction, questions, and answers from the English edition of "Transition Forward, Issue 1, June 2013" (PDF). 

Vietnam has made significant progress in re­cent years responding to the country’s HIV & AIDS epidemic. Under the ongoing leadership of the Government of Vietnam (also known as Viet Nam), the interna­tional community has provided significant technical and financial support to the HIV & AIDS program. As country leadership and ca­pacity to address the HIV epidemic has been strengthened, and as Vietnam’s economy grows stronger, increasing emphasis is being placed on transitioning to a sustained country-led response.

This includes strengthening the health system and civil society, particularly to reach those most at risk.

{Photo credit: Reavis/MSH, Malawi}Photo credit: Reavis/MSH, Malawi

The World Health Organization (WHO) made waves at the International AIDS Society conference in Kuala Lumpur when it issued revised guidelines for HIV treatment. The new guidelines—WHO’s first major update since 2010—recommend an earlier start to treatment, from a CD4 threshold of 350 cells/mm3 to 500 cells/mm3. While most patients don’t show symptoms of disease at these higher CD4 counts (a measure of immune system strength), the new guidelines responded to evidence that an earlier start improves long-term clinical outcomes and that ARV treatment dramatically reduces patients’ likelihood of transmitting the virus to sexual partners.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Originally posted on Devex.

“If you want to go fast, go alone,” says an African proverb. “If you want to go far, go together.”

It’s been thirteen years since the international community adopted the Millennium Development Goals, an ambitious, self-imposed “report card” for global development that helped focus attention and resources on issues like HIV and AIDS. Since then, the global HIV response has gone fast. In 2002, just 300,000 people with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy in developing countries; today, UNAIDS reports, treatment reaches nearly 10 million.

{Photo credit: C. Urdaneta/MSH, South Africa.}Photo credit: C. Urdaneta/MSH, South Africa.

Cross-posted from Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Regional Exchange (SHARE).

As I sat through the official opening at the 6th South African AIDS Conference (SAAIDS), I found myself wondering what the focus of the first conference post 2015 will be. Will there be a national conference after the countries are supposed to have achieved the Millennium Development Goals?

"We have fought a good fight. At last the glass is half full," declared Professor Koleka Mlisana, the conference chair, the first of many plenary speakers to outline the successes achieved in the national AIDS response. The figures from South Africa certainly are encouraging:

{Photo credit: MSH}Photo credit: MSH

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) joined African civil society organizations (CSOs) at a side event  on July 2 of the Abuja +12 meeting of African heads of governments. The groups agreed that universal health coverage should be included in the post-2015 development agenda.

In April 2001, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union signed the Abuja Declaration after undertaking a critical review of the rapid spread of HIV and AIDS on the continent. The Declaration cited practical strategies to deal with the menace. It also urged governments of member states to increase funding for health to at least 15% of the national budget. 

The Nigerian government and the African Union (AU) will co-host the Abuja +12 Special Summit of the AU Heads of government from July 15 to July 19 to review the 2001 Abuja declaration. The Summit intends to focus on the unfinished work of the health-related Millennium Development Goals. It will serve as an avenue to review the progress made on the implementation of the Abuja Declaration on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Communicable Diseases. It will also propose a framework for post-2015 development agenda for Africa. 

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

Reforming a health system in pursuit of universal health coverage (UHC) has the potential to transform health and save lives, but it carries enormous challenges for the leaders committed to this vision. From revenue collection to enforcement of quality standards, every aspect of the system must come together to make UHC successful and sustainable.

With over 100 countries working their way toward UHC--and UHC a prime consideration in post-2015 sustainable development conversations--MSH is devoting this issue of the Global Health Impact newsletter (subscribe) to one of the essential elements of successful UHC: access to medicines.

A NOTE FROM DR. JONATHAN QUICK

Post-2015: Sustainable Health Development Requires UHC: Dr. Quick on Devex

{Photo credit: kjetil_r via Flickr}Photo credit: kjetil_r via Flickr

In a landmark 6-2 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a 2003 law requiring organizations that receive US government funding for global health work on HIV & AIDS to have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution. The plaintiffs in the USAID v. AOSI case included the Global Health Council (GHC), Pathfinder, the Alliance for Open Society International (AOSI), and InterAction.

In a letter to GHC members, Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH, chairman of the GHC board of directors and MSH president and CEO, said:

Did you notice that our website looks and feels really different?

We've redesigned and rebuilt our site from the ground up: showcasing our unique technical expertise and staff, values, global footprint, and mission to save lives and improve health among the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. 

We also have integrated our Global Health Impact blog into the website to continue cutting-edge discussions on global health.  

And we've made the new MSH.org easier to use.     

Learn more about the new MSH.org

Watch the short video -- and see some of the new features firsthand:

 {Photo credit: LMG}From left to right: Sara Bennett, Eric Sarriot, Kenneth Sklaw and the author, Reshma Trasi.Photo credit: LMG

Cross-posted with permission from the LMGforHealth.org blog.

I had the pleasure and privilege of moderating a stimulating discussion, hosted by the USAID-funded AIDSTAR-Two project entitled, "Organizational Capacity Development: How Do We Measure Impact?".

The thoughtful and brilliant panelists Sara Bennett, Associate Professor in the Health Systems Program at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Eric Sarriot, founder and director of the Center for Design and Research in Sustainable Health and Human Development at ICF International; and Kenneth Sklaw, Team Lead for the Capacity Building Team in the Office of HIV/AIDS within USAID validated and challenged my thinking on ways to measure the results of organizational capacity development—which is core to the work that the LMG Project does around the world.

{Photo credit: Dominic Chavez}Photo credit: Dominic Chavez

(This post has also appeared on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation blog, Impatient Optimists and on the blog of the Frontline Health Workers Coalition.)

Our MSH colleague Lucy Sakala was an HIV counselor in Malawi. She worked with clients who were receiving HIV tests. When clients were diagnosed HIV positive, many were eligible for treatment and could begin antiretroviral therapy. HIV care had become available in Malawi because of transformative efforts to reduce ARV prices and increase their availability, such as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

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