‘It’s a terrible blow to Aids research – and not the first time lives have been needlessly lost’

22/07/2014 at 11:25 am Leave a comment

Article by Dr. Enida Friel of Oxfam Ireland.

First published on The Journal.ie 

Enida Friel at Melbourne AIDS conference

 

 

 

 

Some 14,000 people have arrived in Melbourne, Australia to attend the 20th International Aids Society Conference. It takes place every two years and is the most prestigious gathering of the Aids community, attracting leading Aids researchers, activists, practitioners and policy-makers in the world. People living with HIV, community workers along with President Bill Clinton and Sir Bob Geldof are in attendance.

They have come here to take stock of what has been achieved to date and to discuss how to keep up the pace in the future. But they are also in mourning as a number of delegates on route to the conference sadly lost their lives in the MH17 plane incident in Ukraine. While this is an unimaginable tragedy for their families and friends, and a terrible blow to the Aids movement, it is not the first time lives have been lost needlessly.

AIDS Is Not Over

Dóchas report (2013): AIDS Is Not Over

36 million people dead from Aids 

Since AIDS was discovered in 1981 around 36 million men, women and children have died. In 2012 alone 1.6 million died (nearly the population of Dublin and Cork put together), 210,000 of them children. And while many died at the early stages of the epidemic, when we didn’t know enough about Aids or did not have the drugs to treat it, the lives lost in recent years have happened at a time when we have the medicine at hand to treat the disease and the ‘know how’ to end Aids.

Yet there is progress to be proud of. According to UNAIDS (the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), the number of deaths has been halved since 2005; the number of new infections has also declined by 33% since 2001. We have put 10 million people on treatment. Those who died on flight MH17 have contributed to that. But we still have a lot to do. Sub-Saharan Africa is bearing the brunt of the epidemic with 69% of HIV positive people living there. Entire countries such as Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan or population groups such as sex workers, men having sex with men, and injecting drug users are being left behind with regard to HIV and Aids services.

People with disabilities

However, another less talked about vulnerable group are people with disabilities,
estimated at 650 million or 10% of the developing world’s population. New research conducted by Oxfam Ireland, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin in Sub-Saharan Africa – where much of Oxfam Ireland’s work is concentrated including programmes that help people living with HIV and Aids to get the services and support they need – found little evidence of effective HIV interventions for those with disabilities.

Where such practices existed – eg, information made available in alternative forms to suit people with hearing, vision or intellectual impairment, or clinics adjusted to make them accessible to people with physical disability – they were of small scale and almost none were systematically evaluated. Less than half of national HIV strategic plans in East and Southern Africa recognised disability as an issue of concern, though a small number of countries – notably South Africa and Kenya – identified people with disabilities as a vulnerable group, and provided specific interventions for them.

We found a five-prong approach to be best practice. Participation (where people with disabilities are included as partners in HIV/Aids initiatives from the outset and not just contacted for approval at the end of the process), peer led (members of the disability community lead on constructing and implementing HIV/Aids  programmes, eg by being trained as outreach workers for both general public and those with disabilities), integration (integrating disability friendly services into the mainstream delivery of programmes), sensitisation (sensitising the disability population to information and issues around HIV/Aids) and the creation of strategic partnerships by NGOs and service providers and government representatives with people with disabilities to pool funding and resources.

More research and evaluations are needed 

‘A country is as good as it treats its most vulnerable citizens,’ an Irish mother of a child with disability once told me. The Aids community, in particular donors, researchers and practitioners, must continue on the path of achievements made so far to ensure people with disabilities who are living with HIV get the support and services they need.

This means more research, evaluations, application of the five-prong approach and a 10% participation rate of people with disabilities in all HIV interventions. This might go some way in helping to protect one of the most vulnerable groups in our society and honouring those who have died so needlessly, including those who perished on flight MH17.

Dr Enida Friel is Oxfam Ireland’s HIV Programme Coordinator

 

Read more:

aids2

 

Advertisements

Entry filed under: MDGs. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Exploring “Frames” theory President Clinton calls for achievements on HIV and AIDS not to be an excuse to stop now

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 214 other followers

Archives

Dóchas on Twitter

The World's Best News - images

One of the most important graphs. Ever.

http://ourworldindata.org/data/health/maternal-mortality/ Today is World Food Day.

A day to celebrate that the days of truly enormous famines are over: http://blog.concern.net/global-hunger-index-2015-mapping-the-worlds-hunger Meet "Chocolate Mamas", producers of chocolate in #Tanzania, creating Tanzanian jobs. 
While #cocoa is grown in West Africa and Asia,
most #chocolate (the finished product) is made in Europe or the USA.

Meet Jaki Kweka, who is trying to change that. By creating protected areas and national parks and by limiting the spread of soy bean cultivation, Brazil has managed to drastically reduce the amount of rain forest being cleared.

http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/deforestation-in-the-amazon-has-plummeted-almost-90pt/ Costa Rica, #Afghanistan, China, #India and Albania are all embracing renewable energy sources.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/sep/15/five-developing-countries-ditching-fossil-fuels-china-india-costa-rica-afghanistan-albania?CMP=share_btn_tw Social change needs empowered citizens, and empowered citizens need occasional encouragement.

Great to hear that we're not the only ones who believe in the power of positive news! 50,000 rice farmers in #IvoryCoast are now working with better seeds, improving food security in the West African country.

As a result, harvests have increased.

Source: World Bank, photo: Jbdodane / CC BY Sub-Saharan Africa’s first light rail system starts operations. 
As Ethiopians celebrate their New Year, they also prepare to mark the beginning of operations of a tram system in the #Ethiopian capital #AddisAbaba. 
Read more: http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-09-20-sub-saharan-africas-first-light-rail-system-starts-operationsyou-guessed-it-in-ethiopia Going Mobile in #Malawi”. A mobile phone information service established last year to provide timely information to rural poor farmers in a southern African country, has been used nearly half a million times since its launch.

Established in Malawi by Gorta-Self Help Africa last year, the ‘321’ voice-activated service provides subscribers to the country’s largest mobile phone network with farm information and advice that they can access at the push of a button. And it’s all free. Read more at http://dochas.ie/sites/default/files/The-Worlds-Best-News-2015_0.pdf 10,000 copies of "The World's Best News" were distributed all over #ireland today!

See how The Irish Times described our newspaper, and click the link to read all the articles online!

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/inside-out/have-you-read-the-world-s-best-news-1.2355806

Visitors Map

Map

Dóchas Photos

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and members of the YMCA youth group.

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins at the 2016 Irish Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals at Croke Park hosted by Dóchas

More Photos

%d bloggers like this: