Guyana, UNAIDS agree plan to boost life expectancy of those with HIV

-more efficient delivery of services needed

Seated (L-R): Dr Renee West, Minister, Dr Karen Cummings and Dr Rob Glaubius. Standing (L-R): Karen Yaw, Maria Niles, Dr Martin Odiit, Dr Shamdeo Persaud, Dr Morris Edwards, Dr Nadia Liu and Dr Rhonda Moore.

The Public Health Ministry and the UNAIDS (Guyana) Office this week agreed on a three-year HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan to help improve the life expectancy of those affected by the virus.

Under the terms of the HIVision2020 covenant, 90 per cent of Guyanese living with AIDS caused by the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) must be diagnosed by 2020  and a similar number must be receiving their anti-retroviral treatment. The two sides also estimate that under the pact 90 percent of the people must be in treatment with a “fully suppressed viral load” by 2020, a release from the ministry said yesterday.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that the ‘90-90-90’ compact will cost the country some US$5.58M ($1.14B) to meet the global target.

“The costing process involved in-country verification of Guyana’s epidemiological data including review of national key population sizes, the treatment cascade, unit costs and planned coverage of HIV services as defined in the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan,” the ministry reported the UNAIDS local office as saying.

The UNAIDS statement said  Guyana will have to pursue the triple strategy of combining domestic resource mobilisation, boosting efficiency in the delivery of services, and extending interim access to international resources from development partners.

Ministry of Public Health technical staffers and other government ministries will be trained “on the application of the Resource Needs Model for costing of HIV and AIDS programmes” the UNAIDS statement said. It was stated that with this training the local capacity will be built to provide evidence-based planning and decision-making by policy makers.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr Karen Cummings welcomed the costing exercise just ahead of the on-going national budget process. Cummings said Guyana is committed to the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets, the elimination of Mother-To-Child Transmission (eMTCT) of HIV and Syphilis which has also been included in the costing.

Present at the ceremony were the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud; Executive Director of the Health Sector Development Unit (HSDU), Dr Morris Edwards;  Director, Disease Control, Dr Nadia Liu; Director of Planning, Karen Yaw; Programme Manager of the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS), Dr Rhonda Moore; Coordinator of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) Secretariat, Maria Niles and the UNAIDS Country Director, Dr Martin Odiit.

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