Linking HIV/STI Services with Reproductive, Adolescent, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Services

Linking HIV/STI Services with Reproductive, Adolescent, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Services
Name:Linking HIV/STI Services with Reproductive, Adolescent, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Services

The global commitment to Universal Access to comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010 will remain hollow without extraordinary steps to strengthen the  health system. Fostering linkages within the health sector — for  a start — brings all service delivery points to bear to better detect and treat HIV and AIDS among population of men, women and children who may be at high risk but are unaware of their status. 

Buttressing the linkage of a set of services, each with a constituency of users who may be exposed to HIV, is a systematic scale up of services with a vast scope for expansion. Such linkages utilize the strength of each channel — through sexually transmitted infections, reproductive  health, adolescent, maternal, newborn and child health services — to bolster the health system’s overall response to one of 21st century’s most harrowing epidemics.

Effective delivery for better prevention, treatment, care and support of HIV and AIDS  requires also the support of nongovernmental organizations and communities. They are an indispensable part of the millennium agenda to advance public health and achieve greater public good, especially in halting a growing epidemic. Where there is systemic engagement of communities, including adults and children living with HIV, groups most at risk, young people  and local leaders, there is a greater ownership of the agenda, greater recognition and greater action to bring about changes and new practices. 

It is with the overarching goal of enhancing universal and equal access that regional  offices of WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the UNAIDS Secretariat in the Asia Pacific region convened  a Joint Forum with governments and civil society on 6–10 November 2006 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  The Joint Forum comprised two back-to-back meetings:

Biregional Consultation on Integrating Prevention and Management of STI/HIV/AIDS into Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health Services

The 6th Asia-Pacific UN Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission Task Force  Meeting Towards Scaling Up Comprehensive PMTCT in Asia-Pacific

This alliance of efforts between United Nations agencies and different health  departments marked the start of dialogue toward an integrated or linked response. More specifically, it aimed to increase synergy between national HIV programmes and maternal,  neonatal and child health care (MNCH) programmes, which covered a range of services related to women and children, including the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)  and prevention of HIV among women.  

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