Civil so­ci­ety meet­ing as­sesses HIV/ Aids fight

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

THE Le­sotho coun­cil of Non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions (LCN) yes­ter­day held a civil So­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions (csos) stake­hold­ers meet­ing, un­der the aus­pices of its Health Ad­vo­cacy Fo­rum, to as­sess civil so­ci­ety’s im­pact in the fight against HIV/ Aids ahead of World Aids Day com­mem­o­ra­tions on Mon­day.

Held un­der the theme “As­sess­ing the im­pact of civic so­ci­ety on HIV and AIDS in Le­sotho”, the ob­jec­tives of the meet­ing were to record the key chal­lenges csos en­coun­tered and as­sess their con­tri­bu­tion to the HIV and AIDS agenda from 2010 to 2014.

LCN Health and So­cial De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion Of­fi­cer, Ma­math­ule Makhotla, said the meet­ing sought to iden­tify key strate­gies to en­hance csos’ con­tri­bu­tion to na­tional re­sponse ef­forts and de­velop a char­ter on HIV and AIDS.

“The meet­ing was also meant to en­sure the Health Ad­vo­cacy Fo­rum sup­ports and adopts the 20/20 global cam­paign ini­ti­ated by the AIDS Health­care Foun­da­tion (AHF), in hav­ing 20 mil­lion peo­ple on treat­ment by the year 2020,” Ms Makhotla said.

She added that Lcn’s Health and So­cial De­vel­op­ment com­mis­sion es­tab­lished the cso Health Ad­vo­cacy Fo­rum in Jan­uary 2014 in a bid to strengthen their ad­vo­cacy ef­forts on health spe­cific is­sues.

It was also meant to en­hance co­or­di­na­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion among csos work­ing on health and HIV/AIDS in or­der to support high qual­ity ser­vice de­liv­ery and an ef­fec­tive na­tional re­sponse.

Pact Le­sotho Se­nior Pro­grams Of­fi­cer, Bakuena chele, said the cso Health Ad­vo­cacy Fo­rum can be strength­ened to in­crease co­or­di­na­tion and ad­vo­cacy.

Mr chele said the for­ma­tive steps were agreed with the cso Health Ad­vo­cacy Fo­rum plan­ning team for the con­ven­ing of the first HIV pro­gram­ming multi-stake­holder meet­ing ahead of World Aids Day com­mem­o­ra­tions which will be led by King Letsie III in Thaba-bo­siu on Mon­day.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, var­i­ous Ngos such as Le­sotho Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of or­gan­i­sa­tions of the Dis­abled (LNFOD) and MA­TRIX Support Group among oth­ers, high­lighted the chal­lenges and achieve­ments made in their ef­forts to fight HIV and AIDS.

Ac­cord­ing to LNFOD Projects co­or­di­na­tor, raba­sotho Moeletsi, 3.7 per­cent of Le­sotho’s pop­u­la­tion con­sists of peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties and their in­ter­sec­tion with HIV/AIDS kept in­creas­ing de­spite the lit­tle at­ten­tion it re­ceives.

Mr Moeletsi said the Na­tional Strate­gic Plan (NSP) does not en­com­pass peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties thereby ren­der­ing them “in­vis­i­ble”.

“There is no data on the in­ci­dence and preva­lence of HIV and AIDS among peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, and no data on the im­pact of HIV and AIDS on peo­ple liv­ing with HIV,” said Mr Moeletsi.

“There is also a dearth of HIV ed­u­ca­tion ma­te­rial in ac­ces­si­ble for­mats, es­pe­cially for the deaf and vis­ually im­paired.”

How­ever, Mr Moeletsi re­vealed that some re­spon­sive mea­sures had al­ready been taken such as sign lan­guage train­ing for staff to com­mu­ni­cate with deaf clients and adapt­ing their in­for­ma­tion ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion (Iec) ma­te­ri­als for Braille.

on his part, MA­TRIX Support group rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Ariel Poko, said their limited ca­pac­ity and re­sources re­strict their HIV/AIDS preven­tion in­ter­ven­tions to their mem­bers only since they de­pend on other or­gan­i­sa­tions for such equip­ment as ve­hi­cles and store­rooms.

“When we have to de­liver con­doms or lu­bri­cants to our mi­nor­ity group we have to go and seek for as­sis­tance else­where which is not con­ve­nient at times,” Mr Poko said.

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