Benin, EU and UNAIDS cooperate on technical support for HIV response

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Benin, EU and UNAIDS cooperate on technical support for HIV response

19 October 2010

MoU on the implementation of the technical support plan to the AIDS response in Benin

Ms Françoise Collet Ambassador, for the European Union in Benin, Dr Antoinette Obey Megnigbeto for the Government of Benin, and on behalf of UNAIDS Mr Baruani Kilundu Yuma signing the MoU in Benin, 14 October, 2010. Credit: UNAIDS.

On 14 October, the European Union (EU), the Government of Benin and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on a Technical Support Plan to enhance coordination of the AIDS response in Benin and improve the implementation of the Global Fund grants.

A technical support plan maps the gaps in National AIDS responses and identifies where technical support is needed. This is essential to better coordinate and focus joint efforts for strategic and effective national responses to the HIV epidemic.

The aim of the new plan is to assist the national AIDS coordinating authority to more effectively manage, coordinate and supervise the technical support provided by national and international partner organizations.

Benin is one of the first countries in West and Central Africa with a technical support plan in operation. The plan was developed through an inclusive process, with the assistance of the Technical Support Facility for West and Central Africa and UNAIDS Regional Team in Dakar. The national government, bilateral and multilateral partners and civil society identified operational bottlenecks in the national AIDS response together. Key challenges include effective allocation of existing financial resources, weak coordination, and lack of coverage of prevention of mother-to-child transmission services. Via this process the actions needed to overcome challenges were also mapped out.

This plan will help to strengthen the coordination capacity of the national AIDS response in Benin, and improve implementation of Global Fund grants

Mr Baruani Yuma Kilundu UNAIDS Country Coordinator Benin

It is hoped that the plan’s implementation will build on this inclusive approach and further strengthen consensus among partners on how to plan and put into action HIV programmes in Benin.

The MoU was signed by Ms Françoise Collet Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Benin, Dr Antoinette Obey Megnigbeto Permanent Secretary of the National AIDS Committee for the Government of Benin, and on behalf of UNAIDS by Mr Baruani Kilundu Yuma, UNAIDS Country Coordinator of Benin.

“This plan will help to strengthen the coordination capacity of the national AIDS response in Benin, and improve implementation of Global Fund grants,” said Mr Baruani Yuma Kilundu at the signing of the agreement.

So far Benin has received US$ 70 million for HIV programming from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, with another US$ 60 million to be signed for in round 9.  

UNAIDS will facilitate the coordination, as well as resource mobilization to ensure the implementation of the technical support plan and the EU has approved US$ 500 000 to support its implementation over three years, 70 % of the total need.    

There are an estimated 64 000 people living with HIV in the country with a prevalence of 1.2% in the general population. Significant differences are found between the urban and the rural population, and women carry the largest burden of HIV infection at 1.5% compared to 0.8% among men.