In observance of World AIDS Day 2017, under the theme – Right to Health - the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) collaborated with government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to host three (3) activities: the annual Awareness Walk and Inter-Faith Service, the annual dramatic production – Flame and the Ribbon, and a Roundtable on Gender Based Violence and HIV. These activities were held on November 25, December 1, and December 5 respectively.
The Awareness Walk and Inter-Faith Service, held at Durban Park, was a collaboration with the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) and the Ministry of Public Health. During his remarks Dr. Martin Odiit, UNAIDS Country Director, called for the universal use by the population of the free HIV prevention and treatment services provided by the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. The activity saw participation from various governmental and non-governmental organizations, United Nations staff, civil society, the private sector, and the general public.
In partnership with Artistes In Direct Support (A.I.D.S), the Flame and the Ribbon production was held at the National Cultural Centre. In keeping with the World AIDS Day theme the play addressed HIV prevention, safer sexual practices, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), Mother to Child Transmission, domestic violence, cancer, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, and maintaining a healthy body. In her remarks, Hon. Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health, committed to providing quality health services to the population. Dr. Odiit emphasized the importance of the population exercising their right to health. The play was preceded a candle lighting ceremony in memory of those who died from or are living with HIV/AIDS. During the event special awards were presented to outstanding individuals and organizations; UNAIDS was the recipient of an award for its support and commitment to the hosting of the production over the years. The production celebrated the 25th anniversary of A.I.D.S.
A Roundtable on Gender Based Violence and HIV was hosted by the Guyana Community of Positive Women and Girls (GCWAG), in collaboration with the Ministries of Social Protection and Public Health, and the National AIDS Programme Secretariat. This activity was held to observe World AIDS Day and the 16 days of activism against violence against women. In his remarks Dr. Odiit underscored the relationship between HIV and Gender Based Violence (GBV). During the sessions GCWAG members presented the challenges they have faced with GBV. Presentations and practical information were shared by several stakeholders’ representatives including the Deputy Director of Social Services, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, the NAPS Programme Manager and the UNESCO Secretary General. It was agreed that more information on the services available for addressing violence against women need to be disseminated regularly and widely. The event saw participation by representatives from the Government, the United Nations, Advancing Partners & Community, civil society, Persons Living with HIV, NGOs, and the media.
WHO WE ARE
The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945. After the Second World War 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.
PURPOSE OF THE UN
The United Nations has four (4) main purposes:
- To keep peace throughout the world;
- To develop friendly relations among nations;
- To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger; disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
- To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.
UN IN GUYANA
In Guyana, the United Nations System has been operating for over 45 years. The UN is headed by the Resident Coordinator (RC), who also serves as the Resident Representative (RR) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The RC is the designated representative of the UN Secretary-General.
The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) encompasses all the entities of the UN system that carry out operational activities for development. The UNCT ensures inter-agency coordination and decision-making at the country level. The main purpose of the Country Team is for individual agencies to plan and work together to support the development of the Government and people of Guyana.
This agenda is supported via the work of offices, which are located in country and non-resident offices.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO)
- United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS)
- International Labour Organization (ILO) Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean - Trinidad
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central America and the Caribbean in Panama (UNODC ROPAN)
- UN Women Multi - Country Office – Caribbean - Barbados
- United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) Kingston
Office - Jamaica
- United Nations Information Center for the Caribbean Area (UNIC) – Trinidad and Tobago
WHAT WE DO IN GUYANA
The UN works closely with the Government of Guyana and other partners to fulfill its mandate as outlined in the joint cooperation agreement - United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) - which started in 2012 and will end in 2016. The main outcomes of the UNDAF are:
- Environment and Sustainable Development
- Inclusive Growth
- Inclusive Governance
- Human and Social Development
Dr. Martin Odiit is a Medical Doctor with a MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Edinburgh. Prior to his current position he was the UNAIDS Country Director for Somalia and UNAIDS Strategic Information Advisor in Namibia. His previous positions were with the UNAIDS Uganda office, the Uganda AIDS Control Project funded by the World Bank, and the USAID funded Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care in Kampala. He has also worked as an epidemiologist and researcher with the Uganda Government. In total, he has 28 years experience in the field of health and development. He is married and has 3 children.
UNAIDS is an innovative United Nations partnership that leads and inspires the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
Through a series of goals, resolutions and declarations adopted by Member States of the United Nations, the world has a set of commitments, actions and goals to stop and reverse the spread of HIV and scale up the universal access.
The mission of UNAIDS is to lead, strengthen and support an expanded response to HIV and AIDS that includes preventing transmission of HIV, providing care and support to those living with the virus, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV and alleviating the impact of the epidemic.
Zero new HIV infections; Zero discrimination; Zero AIDS-related deaths.
The UNAIDS strategy aims to revolutionize HIV prevention, accelerate the next phase of treatment, care and support, and promote human rights and gender equality through implementing the 2016 UN Political Declaration on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 in line with the SDGs. The Declaration provides a global mandate to Fast Track the AIDS response by 2020 including achieving the 90-90-90 target.
What We Do
Leadership and advocacy for effective action on the epidemic
UNAIDS advocates and supports government, civil society, private sector and international partners to Fast-Track the response to end AIDS by 2030 through among other interventions:
- “Treat all” HIV positive regardless of CD4 count. Treatment is also prevention because viral suppressed individuals cannot transmit HIV.
- Combination Prevention approach – Effective HIV prevention programmes require a combination of biomedical (clinical), structural (enabling environment) and behavioural (safe sex) methods.
3. Innovation - applying new evidence based approaches e.g. PREP, new drug formulations, assisted partner notification, intensified navigation, real time monitoring.
4. Zero discrimination –promoting a favorable policy and legal environment for key populations most at risk including; MSM, transgender, youth, women, PLHIV and Sex Workers.
5. Generation and use of strategic information - generation and tracking, monitoring and evaluation of the epidemic and of responses to it.
6. Sustainability of AIDS response- sustainability planning and implementation.
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- Guyana achieved universal coverture in antiretroviral treatment (more than 80% of people in need accessing the drugs)
- Guyana is about to eliminate mother to child HIV transmission (5 babies infected in 2012).
- Mortality due to AIDS dropped from 9.4% to 3.6% in the last ten years.
- AIDS cases dropped also but the number of HIV infections remained the same for the last 10 years.
- Coordination: UNAIDS works with MoH and other line ministries to develop a better coordinated HIV National Response; HIV Strategic Plan (HIVision2020) about to be launched in early August 2012.
- Advocacy: UNAIDS provided strong support for civil society organizations interaction with Government, principally focused on the key populations under higher risk: mn who have sex with men (MSM) and sex workers (SW), apart from miners and loggers.
- Technical Support: through the UN Joint Team on AIDS, which comprises all UN agencies (each one with specific roles), UNAIDS has provided continuous technical support on key areas as strategic planning, HIV prevention, mother-to-child transmission, human rights and other important related areas.
- HIV and AIDS sustainability: Guyana needs to develop a sustainability plan for the next few years, to decrease the dependency on international grants and funds (principally coming from the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria). For that purpose, Guyana needs to improve the domestic contribution for the HIV national response.
- Stigma and Discrimination: Guyana needs to eliminate S&D through vigorous inter sectorial actions, involving, Government, Parliament, Civil Society and the private sector, removing the punitive laws against same sex relations, establishing good guidelines for access to services and respecting, protecting and promoting human rights as the way to end AIDS in the country.
- Gender injustice: Guyana needs to promote and implement a gender-balanced agenda, involving boys and girls, women and men, to decrease gender-based violence (GBV), adolescent pregnancy and HIV vulnerability, and to promote responsible parenthood, HIV effective prevention and positive prevention.
The UN supports the GoG by providing technical assistance through our global network of expertise. UN support is demand driven and guided by the Guyana UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2012-2016 which was developed jointly with the GoG
- The workplan of each UN agency is focused on contributing to the achievement of the MDG Goals