Time to take lead against Hiv/aids

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

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.

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