NAC heightens TB, HIV eradication efforts



MASERU – The National Aids Commission (NAC) is finalising the National HIV/Aids Strategic Plan (NHSP) of 2023-2028, the next stage of the journey towards a future where HIV and TB are no longer public health problems. NHSP, which lays as a foundation of zero infection towards HIV/Aids pandemic and provides strategic guidance to address the stigma and health inequalities that key populations and people living with HIV face at all levels, states that the goal is to reduce morbidity and mortality by providing HIV treatment, care and adherence support for all.

NAC chief executive, Lebohang Mothae, said their plan is to accelerate and scale up targeted interventions to prevent new HIV infections among key and priority populations, including adolescent girls and young women, men who have sex with men, sex workers and people who inject drugs. Mothae said they also want to ensure that all children, adolescents, and adults with HIV receive comprehensive care in an integrated approach and address comorbidities and emerging issues. “We want to keep people living with HIV and communities at the centre of the response, strengthen and appropriately resource community-led engagement, ensure domestic and long-term financing and sustainability of the HIV response, even during humanitarian crisis and emergencies such as pandemics,” she said. She further noted that they their goal is to eliminate structural barriers, including HIV related stigma and discrimination, gender inequality and violence and harmful laws and policies.    Mothae said NHSP’s vision statement is to end the HIV pandemic and enhance health outcomes free from discrimination and stigma for individuals living with, at risk, or affected by HIV.  She said as they pave their way for the next five years, they get into a new phase of response where implementing partners in the field of HIV have worked hard in the previous phase.

The new strategic document is built on the country’s successes, addresses the gaps and weaknesses of the national response, and takes advantage of the opportunities to scale-up effective and high-impact interventions in line with national, regional and global perspectives. The plan is to strengthen a multi-sectoral response, strengthen community-led responses, apply a gender and human rights lens, and maintain and sustain the gains made throughout the years. On behalf of young people, Nthabeleng Tanka, said as youth who are also affected by HIV, they are ready for the next NHSP, for it provides stakeholders across the nation with a roadmap to accelerate efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the country by 2030.

Tanka said: “The strategy is going to re-energise and strengthen our response to the epidemic while supporting people with HIV and reducing HIV related deaths.” She said to achieve these goals, they will require the engagement of stakeholders from all sectors, youth included, in a more co-ordinated national response to HIV.

“This includes the collaborative and aligned efforts of people with or at risk of HIV, health professionals, faith-based organisations and community leaders, to accelerate efforts to end the HIV epidemic,” she explained.

NHSP is a call to action for stakeholders from all sectors of society, to promote people-centered approach, grounded in principles of human rights and health equity.

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