Best practice in South-South cooperation for child rights
Asia-Pacific Data Hub on HIV and AIDS
The ‘Evidence for Action, HIV and AIDS Data Hub for the Asia-Pacific’is at the heart of a regional HIV AIDS knowledge leadership and management strategy developed by UNICEF, in partnership with UNAIDS , the WHO and ADB . The Data Hub provides easy access to multiple sources of data covering 26 Asia-Pacific countries and China’s Hong Kong SAR on issues such as HIV prevalence, national responses and risk behaviours. The ready-to-use products include:
• Overviews in slides for each of 26 countries, and two regional slide sets for the Asia-Pacific and for Pacific Island Countries and Territories respectively. The slides are categorized into five domains to reflect the current situation and also trends in the epidemics, vulnerability and knowledge, risk behaviours, HIV and AIDS finances and socio-economics, and national responses. Summaries of country and regional data are available as tables, graphs and maps in PowerPoint.
• Country Spreadsheets with standardardized global HIV and AIDS indicators and country-specific indicators presented by year, sub-group, area coverage and source, disaggregated by sex where available.
• Country and Regional Reviews that provide synthesis of information from different sources to present a summary of the HIV epidemic and response in each country and across the region.
• Maps (sub-national and regional) present information on HIV prevalence and service coverage in time-series. Approximately 200 maps for 14 countries are now available.
• Thematic Papers include: Migration and HIV (12 countries and regional), Sex Work and HIV (six countries), Law, Policy and HIV (regional) and Civil Society involvement in the national HIV response (regional).
The Data Hub also periodically produces e-Newsflashes, circulated by email to around 2,700 key people working on HIV-related programmes in the region. These e-Newsflashes keep the network informed about Data Hub updates and products, as well as upcoming HIV-related events, issues and challenges in the region.
The Data Hub also hosts the newly-launched Asia-Pacific Prevention of Parent-to-Child-Transmission (PPTCT) Task Force website, a platform advocating for global and regional commitment towards the elimination of paediatric HIV and congenital syphilis by 2015. The website has been specifically designed to promote as well as measure progress towards elimination in 12 priority countries. It provides key data from multiple sectors (HIV/STI/Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health) and tools for determining country-specific elimination targets and resource needs. It will serve as a mechanism to promote linkages and health system strengthening. Through the Task Force, it supports joint development of country-specific operational plans and funding proposals for a comprehensive national PPTCT and elimination of congenital syphilis response.
Laços Sul-Sul initiative (HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care)
Brazil launched the Laços Sul-Sul (LSS) initiative in 2004 to ensure universal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care through the exchange of information and the joint development of strategies and action plans among the participating countries – all within the context of solidarity among developing nations and a horizontal (ie. South-South) cooperation model. Brazil’s country partners in Lacos Sul-Sul are Bolivia, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Nicaragua, Paraguay, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste.
This South-South model acknowledges that the ultimate responsibility for responding to HIV issues lies with countries – not donors or international organizations. The initiative uses a human rights-based approach, focused on:
• the right to know how to protect oneself and others from HIV infection;
• the right to know one’s HIV status, with the guarantee of adequate counselling;
• the right to integrated comprehensive treatment and care, including paediatric treatment; and
• the right of all babies to be protected against HIV transmission.
Because children and adolescents often have been ignored in national programmes to fight the spread of HIV, the second phase of Laços Sul‐Sul initiative focuses on them, especially through prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child (PMTCT).
This approach is in line with the UNICEF global campaign Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS. LSS also includes treatment for mothers who tested HIV positive, regardless of their child’s HIV status. This treatment component has developed into an interagency initiative together with UNAIDS, UNESCO and the United Nations Population Fund.
By fostering South‐South cooperation between countries, the Laços Sul‐Sul initiative is helping strengthen the national responses to the HIV epidemic. This includes improved national monitoring and evaluation, as well as increased scope of national AIDS programmes through the exchange of experiences, documents and training. Moreover, the Laços Sul‐Sul network is led by national governments, which helps guarantee the continuity of activities. As a partner, UNICEF supports technical cooperation and the sharing of experiences among the eight countries involved.
Significant results include:
• in Timor Leste, a 2006-2011 National AIDS Plan has been developed, antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiated, an HIV AIDS prevention programme for young persons in and out of school has been launched, a dedicated HIV AIDS unit established within the Ministry of Health, and training provided for health care professionals;
• in Cape Verde, 66 per cent of all pregnant women are now tested for HIV, as compared with 13 per cent in 2005;
• in Paraguay, the rate of PMTCT of HIV dropped from 35 to 6.8 per cent in only two years;
• in São Tome and Principe, 76 people now receive antiretroviral treatment, compared with none two years ago; and
• in Bolivia, there has been a four-fold increase in the number of people on antiretroviral treatment, now at 550 people.