Govt to re­vive AIDS Com­mis­sion

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

GOVERN­MENT has un­der­taken to re-es­tab­lish the Na­tional AIDS Com­mis­sion (NAC) “by the end of this year” to co­or­di­nate pro­grammes aimed at erad­i­cat­ing the epi­demic.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence in Maseru yes­ter­day, Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, Kimetso Mathaba, said the com­mis­sion would soon be re­opened with the re­cruit­ment of key per­son­nel al­ready in progress.

“Ef­forts to en­sure that NAC is up and run­ning ef­fec­tively are at an ad­vanced stage,” Mr Mathaba said.

“The po­si­tions of chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer and two di­rec­tors have al­ready been ad­ver­tised, while the ap­point­ment of 10 board mem­bers is be­ing fi­nalised.”

NAC had been re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing and co­or­di­nat­ing pro­grammes to com­bat HIV/AIDS, but was closed in 2011 fol­low­ing a damn­ing re­port that it had be­come a bur­den to tax­pay­­fore NAC was dis­banded, the coun­try’s HIV/ Aids-preva­lence rate was third in the world be­hind Swazi­land and Botswana re­spec­tively, al­though it was al­ready at 23 per­cent.

How­ever, Le­sotho has since leapfrogged Botswana into se­cond po­si­tion, while Swazi­land leads the pack at 26 per­cent and Botswana is now at 19 per­cent.

Mr Mathaba said cab­i­net had dis­cussed amend­ments to the Na­tional AIDS Com­mis­sion Act (2005) to stream­line its op­er­a­tions and pre­vent prob­lems that led to its dis­band­ment.

“Due to loop­holes in the Act, a large chunk of the com­mis­sion’s funds were al­lo­cated to salaries. The pro­posed amend­ments will ad­dress such prob­lems,” he said.

The amend­ment bill, Mr Mathaba said, had al­ready been drafted, adding it would soon be tabled in par­lia­ment.

Mean­while, Le­sotho next Tues­day join the rest of the global com­mu­nity in com­mem­o­rat­ing World AIDS Day.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Mathaba, com­mem­o­ra­tions would be held un­der the theme ‘End­ing AIDS To­wards Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment’, with a peace march from Ma­joe-a-litšoene to Borokhoa­neng.

“On the same day, the main cel­e­bra­tions will be held at Bay­lor Col­lege of Medicine Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion, with the hos­pi­tal show­cas­ing its achieve­ments since it was of­fi­cially opened 10 years ago,” he said.


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