And the winner is…

A woman in Bangladesh
Renaldah Mjomba
By Renaldah Mjomba: June 10th, 2011

When the Caregivers Action Network (CAN) finally gets down to nominating a goodwill ambassador, it seems to me that Stephen O’Brien,  the UK Minister for the Department for International Development, would be a good candidate. I say this because in an answer he gave on HIV/AIDS in the House of Commons on Wednesday, he said:  “In addition to prevention and treatment…we want to ensure that care and support, which has often been the neglected area of HIV campaigning, is addressed too.” So when I saw Stephen O’Brien at the High Level Meeting (HLM) in New York, the following day, I seized the opportunity to congratulate him for having drawn attention to caregivers.

Elsewhere at the HLM, in a session on women and girls and HIV, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi Minister of Health for South Africa pronounced that: “The future of any child depends on who the mother is”. This statement captures the mood at the HLM, which is really a breath of fresh air, given that over 50%  of people living with HIV are women.  Despite the tug-of-war between civil society organisations and governments on what their commitments should be, it is becoming clear that the likely winners from this meeting will be women and girls.

I also attended a meeting of  CSO representatives working on a draft statement on women and girls. Activists working for women’s organisations made it very clear that the trend of more women becoming infected had to be halted.

Governments welcome the Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health that will  mirror  the Global Fund programme in terms of funding and implementation.  Its aim is to significantly reduce the number of maternal newborn and under-five child deaths “as a matter of immediate concern”.   This is one topic that both governments and CSOs fully agree and if implemented, will go a long way in injecting the much needed momentum in the system.


3 comment on And the winner is…

  1. Lydia Nakandi says:

    Renaldah,it is such a good job you are doing out there. Just to add, that there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel now that in the recent pronouncement of the National budgets for Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, governments put into consideration the issue of maternal health and had some fair budget allocated to tackle this problem. That is the way to go if we are to meet the MDGs.

  2. Thank you very much for your feedback Lydia! It is really good to know that governments of developing countries (in this case the East Africa Community, EAC) are taking the MDGs agenda seriously and actually budgeting for it! The final statement of the HLM made reference to MDGs in at least 3 paragraphs, clearly drawing parallels between HIV and AIDS and development. E.g, paragraph 6 reads”… Reaffirm our commitment to the achievement of all the MDGs, in particular Goal 6…”. Now they need to walk the talk!

  3. JB says:

    Great work. Maybe we should all make small carry around pledges to remind us the way ahead and the things that remain undone. Renaldah and team keep the faith.

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