UN official urges Mozambique to strengthen HIVAIDS prevention programmes

“The urgency demonstrated by the Government of Mozambique to align their national strategies with the outcomes of the [General Assembly’s] Political Declaration [on AIDS] should be a model to other countries,” said Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) during a four-day visit to Mozambique.During a meeting with Mozambique’s Prime Minister, Aires Aly Bonifácio, Mr. Sidibé called for high-level political leadership and commitment to long-term predictable financing for the national AIDS response.Mr. Sidibé underscored the importance of prioritizing prevention and integrating AIDS response with health and social development efforts.“Mozambique has the second highest rate of new adult HIV infections in the world. There is a need to accelerate prevention programmes,” he said.There were more than 200,000 people living with HIV and receiving treatment in Mozambique by the end of last year. The country’s programme to prevent new HIV infections in children has rapidly expanded with the opening of 909 sites in 2010 providing 67 per cent coverage to pregnant women. However, Mozambique remains one five countries in the world with high levels of new HIV infection among children.Mr. Sidibé voiced concern over the fact that 97 per cent of Mozambique’s AIDS budget is generated from external sources and stressed the need for the country to increase domestic resources to ensure sustainable AIDS responses in the coming years.“Mozambique needs to develop an innovative transitional plan for sustainable financing, which includes increased national budgets, private sector contribution and social health insurance,” he said. 1 September 2011The head of the United Nations agency mandated to spearhead the global response to HIV/AIDS today commended Mozambique for its commitment to fighting the disease while stressing the need to strengthen prevention programmes. read more