Myanmar: Towards universal access
21 August 2007
What will it take to reach universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in Myanmar ? This was the central discussion of a satellite meeting held as part of the 8 th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP) on Monday 20 August.
Over the past year the response to AIDS in Myanmar achieved significant progress: a new National Strategic Plan was developed, including the completion of the costed Operational Plan; and in late 2006 the 3-Diseases Fund was launched and became operational in early 2007. “With these key developments, in 2007 there is a real and tangible opportunity to continue to expand the AIDS response in Myanmar with the aim of reaching universal access,” said UNAIDS Country Coordinator, Brain Williams.
Organized by the United Nations Theme Group on AIDS in Myanmar, the satellite session presented an overview of the current epidemic situation; outlined recent gains in the response to AIDS in Myanmar; and highlighted the needs for, and opportunity to, support a further expansion of the response.
Myanmar ’s Deputy Minister of Health Prof. Mya Oo highlighted the country’s commitment to respond to AIDS and outlined efforts underway including the production of a multi-sectoral National Strategic Plan emphasizing reaching out to people most at risk. The Deputy Minister thanked the Three Diseases Fund for their investment in HIV care and prevention services in Myanmar and called for increased resources to be made available to Myanmar to fully enable the response to expand and succeed.
The second keynote speaker, representative of people living with HIV Ms. Naw She Wah, spoke of the needs of people living with HIV to have access to treatment, the need for self-help groups to have expanded support including official recognition from the authorities, and called on international organizations to increase their financing to expand coverage beyond the mere 10% of HIV positive people in need of treatment who are currently receiving it.
Technical presentations were made by the National AIDS Programme Manager Dr. Min Thwe, Dr Wiwat Peerapatanapokin an epidemiologist from the East-West Center and recently participated in an HIV prevalence workshop in Myanmar, and Dr. Frank Smithius , Country Representative, Médecins Sans Frontières Holland (AZG), Myanmar.
“The session underscored the progress that has been made over recent years in Myanmar in demonstrating that services can be delivered to people in need, but highlighted that low coverage requires increased financial support from international and domestic sources in order to achieve Universal Access,” Brian Williams said.
Read presentation by Dr Min Thwe, Programme Manager National AIDS Programme Ministry of Health - 'Service coverage for HIV and AIDS Myanmar'
Read presentation by Dr Smithuis, Medicins sans Frontieres Country Representative - 'Prevention and treatment of HIV in Myanmar'
Read presentation by Dr Wiwat Peerapatanapokin, epidemiologist from the East-West Center - 'Progress of HIV Epidemic in Myanmar 2007'