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Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)

Report of the regional workshop of national AIDS authorities on the implementation of the SADC HIV and AIDS strategic framework
26 - 28 July 2004, Kopanong Hotel - South Africa

Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)

August 2004

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The Regional Workshop for the Implementation of the SADC HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework reminded us that Southern Africa is at the epicentre of the epidemic.

This workshop again demonstrated that today we know more about HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa than ever before. Improved surveillance techniques are providing light not only on the HIV and AIDS situation, but also on the behaviours that drive the epidemic. Increasingly Member States are expressing their political commitment to addressing the epidemic through the allocation of more resources to combat HIV/AIDS, including the provision of treatment. The provision of treatment needs to be complemented by the strengthening the entire health system including development and retainment of human resources who are critical for the future health and welfare of the region.

Through the sharing of ideas and information the workshop demonstrated that across the region, governments, civil society and ordinary people are engaging in extraordinary efforts to combat the epidemic. Botswana has taken the lead in terms of providing ARV treatment while many countries have mainstreamed HIV/AIDS into their national development plans and have formed national partnerships led by their governments to respond to the epidemic. Zimbabwe has demonstrated that we can use innovative methods to mobilise additional resources in support of the national response to HIV and AIDS.

Despite these achievements, the workshop also demonstrated that we are only at the beginning of dealing with the epidemic. Treatment remains inaccessible to many people, more evidence is required to determine whether the prevention efforts in the region are making an impact, and there is a need to plan for the future, to develop national strategies and frameworks that respond to the growing numbers of children who have been orphaned by the epidemic.

Delegates to the workshop concluded by calling on the SADC Secretariat to coordinate the regional response to the epidemic, guided by the SADC Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS. In this regard, this workshop will become an annual event convened by the SADC Secretariat. Furthermore, the SADC Secretariat together with its partners will publish an annual report to look at how the region is keeping the promises it has made in the SADC Declaration, the Abuja Declaration, the UNGASS Declaration, and the Millenium Development Goals.

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