Time to take lead against Hiv/aids
GOVERNMENT’S commitment to re-establish the National AIDS Commission (NAC) is yet another welcome development that happened this week. While doubts still linger about whether the promise to revive the commission “by the end of this year”, as expressed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Kimetso Mathaba, is achievable, it is better late than never.
We agree with Mr Mathaba that the commission cannot be resurrected as it was structured when it was disbanded in 2011. Government needs to ensure that NAC spearheads the harmonisation and alignment of the national response to HIV and AIDS. Lesotho needs NAC now more than ever considering that HIV/AIDS prevalence remains at a precariously high 23 percent.
The resurrection of NAC should also coincide with a change from the business as usual approach with regards to the fight against the pandemic. All stakeholders, from government, civil society organisations to religious institutions and traditional leaders need to redouble their efforts to stem the further spread of the disease. Although it is common knowledge that government is hamstrung in as far as resources are concerned, it needs to take a leading role and not be a mere spectator while development partners and nongovernmental organisations take the lead.
This lethargy has resulted in the steady dwindling of funding for ANTI-HIV/AIDS programmes due to donor fatigue. With a properly structured and streamlined NAC, Lesotho has a chance to spearhead the fight against the pandemic in a transparent and accountable manner.