“Nepal HIVision 2020” implementation process starts today with 2-day partners’ workshop Nepal’s Fast-Track HIV Plan aims to end AIDS epidemic, by 2030
When Nepal’s Health Minister, Gagan Kumar Thapa, launched the country’s National HIV Strategic Plan, NHSP 2016-2021: “Nepal HIVision 2020,” on1st December, World AIDS Day 2016, he committed to the Government’s Fast-Track approach to end the AIDS epidemic in Nepal, by 2030. Today and tomorrow, approximately 125 persons, representing people living with HIV, government, civil society, the private sector, national and international NGOs and external development partners, from all regions of Nepal, come together to participate in a 2-day workshop that will result in their accelerated actions through focused investments in HIV programmes for and with key populations, in priority geographical areas.
“Nepal HIVision 2020” provides the strategic directions for the implementation of an innovative, evidence-informed and socially just HIV response that will set Nepal on a Fast-Track course to end the country’s AIDS epidemic by 2030,” said the Director General of Health Services, Dr. Rajendra Pant. “I am confident that when we effectively ‘Identify, Reach, Recommend, Test, Treat and Retain,’ we will succeed. We have everything we need from science, expertise and experience in our hands - we can do it, and now we need to go out together and do it,” he said in his opening remarks.
According to a presentation by Shambhu Kafle of the Ministry of Health National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC), Nepal has made remarkable progress in its HIV response over the past decades. It is estimated that 33 000 people were living with HIV in Nepal, at the end of 2016. There were approximately 1 000 new HIV infections in 2016, compared to 5 600 in 2001; down by 82%. This success has been due to important partnerships between the government, community groups, national and international non-governmental organizations, and external development partners.
In her presentation, Dr Mukta Sharma, from the World Health Organization in Thailand, one of the key contributors to ‘Nepal HIVision 2020,’ highlighted community-led testing for and by key populations as crucial to successful implementation of Nepal’s HIV Plan, over the next 4 years.
Dr Ruben F del Prado, UNAIDS Country Director and Representative reiterated the importance of what is committed in the plan. He said: “To reach Nepal’s Fast-Track targets, strategic, prioritized investments are needed; combined with task-sharing between government and non-government partners, and community in-reach.”
Communities have the capacity to take ownership of implementation of the NHSP and can take action by putting the resources at reach at work. “We can support and accompany them towards ‘Community Life Competence’ to Fast-Track ending the AIDS epidemic in Nepal,” said Marlou De Rouw, of ‘The ‘Constellation’.
The global HIV targets call for ensuring 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people living with HIV who know their status are receiving treatment, and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads, by the year 2020.
Currently, about US$18 million is being invested in Nepal’s HIV response, with only about 15% from domestic resources. To Fast-Track the HIV response by 2020, it is estimated that annually US$ 30-40 million will be required over the next 5 years.