Ethiopia introduces guideline to fight HIV/AIDS in emergency areas

An HIV/AIDS document, which took years in the making by the Ministry of Health, is finally being published. The Minimum Package for HIV/AIDS Intervention in Emergency Settings gives guidelines for crisis intervention for mid level program planners in agencies that serve people with HIV and AIDS.

The targeted agencies provide a diverse array of assistance from humanitarian assistance, to program implementation. The guidelines are designed so that specialists from a wide range of professions and services can utilize them. The document was modeled after the United Nation General Assembly Special Session on AIDS (UNGASS) in 2001 and African Continental Resolutions.

“HIV/AIDS is about societies. It is about development and poverty that leads to food insecurity, lack of power and social instability. It is necessary to address HIV/AIDS as part of the overall development process to assure sustainability of the country’s development,” said Mitiku Kassa, State Minister of Agriculture through his representative while the document was made official at the Ethiopia Hotel last November.

 “HIV/AIDS has considerably exacerbated the effects of humanitarian crises in many countries. The growing number of humanitarian crises which are often linked to displacement, food insecurity and poverty increase vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and negatively affect the lives of people living with the virus,” said Flex B.F. Gomez, Senior Deputy Country Director of WFP while addressing the launching program of the manual.

During the 2011 Horn of Africa drought, no country in the region received support to safeguard its citizens living with HIV/AIDS, as there was no mechanism to address their special needs. The document that Ethiopia has now made public will solve such challenges in the future.

Every year millions of people are affected by emergencies and humanitarian crises globally. This favors the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, say experts.

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