Posted by: africanpressorganization | 17 March 2010

EAC to hold workshop on regional armed forces HIV/AIDS prevention and control





EAC to hold workshop on regional armed forces HIV/AIDS prevention and control



ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 17, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The East African Community has organised a three-day workshop on mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS prevention, control, treatment, care and support into Partner States’ national Armed Forces and Peace and Security sectors.

The workshop, due to take place in Kigali, Rwanda from 22-24 March 2010 seeks to contribute to the reduction in prevalence of HIV /AIDS in the EAC Armed Forces by strengthening the Armed Forces prevention capacity and initiatives.

The workshop aims to review the current status of the mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS prevention, control, treatment, care and support into EAC regional, national and sub-national level (EAC Partner States’ national Armed Forces and Peace and Security sectors) through the EAC Defence Liaison Offices in collaboration with the relevant international, regional, multi-sectoral stakeholders and development partners.

The workshop will also highlight various strategies put in place by the region and the contribution of collaborating partners and stakeholders in supplementing the efforts of the EAC region Armed Forces in implementing effective prevention, education and surveillance programs.

“The mounting of firm and practical HIV/AIDS interventions is critical to stability, security and regional prosperity. There is dire need to develop a coherent and sustainable EAC Regional Armed Forces HIV/AIDS prevention strategy,” notes Col. Michael Gayo Luwongo, the Chair of the Defence Liaison Offices (DLO) at the EAC Secretariat.

The workshop’s specific objectives include; Reviewing the current and emerging HIV-AIDS challenges facing EAC Armed Forces; Examining current response/intervention for addressing the HIV/AIDS; Exploring new developments in addressing the scourge of HIV/AIDs at national, sub-regional and regional levels; Explore approaches that enhance multi-sectoral coordination on Health and Security sectors; Exploring ways to strengthen the links between researchers, practitioners and leading policy makers to galvanize an intensified HIV/AIDS prevention response; and Conceptualising and developing a regional Armed Forces HIV/AIDS prevention strategy.

The workshop will bring together EAC Partner States Chiefs of Armed Forces Medical Services; Ministry of Health National HIV/AIDS Programme officers; Heads of National AIDS Commissions/Councils; experts in Public Health HIV/AIDS prevention strategy; EAC Defence Liaison Officers and senior officials from the EAC Secretariat.

Background information

The Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC Article 118 calls for Partner States to co-operate in health activities. In this regard, the Partner States commit to take joint action towards the prevention and control of communicable diseases and epidemics of communicable nature such as HIV/AIDS that might endanger the health and welfare of residents of the Partner States, and to co-operate in facilitating mass immunisation and other public health community campaigns. The EAC Developmental Strategy also recognises HIV/AIDS as a serious threat to sustainable development in the region, and the EAC integration agenda.

The prevalence rate and incidence of HIV and AIDS in the EAC regional Armed Forces, (military, police and paramilitary forces including their families) is still high in spite of measures put in place to address the epidemic. It is imperative to recognise strongly that HIV/AIDS in the regional Armed Forces impacts negatively on national security and should be a regional priority.

This situation is aggravated by the nature of Armed Forces work which often involves travelling long distances away from home on high mobility missions. This renders the Armed Forces particularly vulnerable yet they are part of the wider society in which they live and with which they interact.

This therefore calls for a radical scaling up of broad innovative responses at a regional level. Indeed, the focus should be on prevention of HIV and AIDS, and care and mitigation of its impact in order to ensure sustainable human development within Partner States.

The mainstreaming of HIV/AIDS prevention and control workshop follows a directive by the EAC Council of Ministers that HIV/AIDS prevention be mainstreamed into regional Peace and Security sectors through the EAC Defence Liaison Officers. The workshop is also a fulfilment in accordance with the EAC Regional Integrated Multisectoral HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan: 2008-2012.



East African Community (EAC)


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