Since 1996, UNICEF Romania has been part of the HIV/AIDS Theme Group with other UN and international agencies acting in Romania, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the World Bank (WB), providing the group’s leadership during two mandates, and developing an agenda in support of the Romanian Government. UNICEF Romania also created space for dialogue, interaction and consensus among partners from various sectors of activity – public and private, health, social, education and justice – which has enriched the expertise and valuable experience for the professional response in the specific area. In addition, by joining forces with main partners, UNICEF managed to leverage the resources allocated for HIV/AIDS through support for accessing and implementing funding from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) in the form of two grants totaling $41 million for 2002–2009. An HIV/AIDS policy framework was developed and capacity to deliver services in counselling and testing was built. A life-skills based education programme, which includes an HIV/AIDS component, is now mandatory for grades 1-12 as of the 2007/08 school year.
Technical assistance for system strengthening
The objective was to promote the rights of all children living with HIV/AIDS to have access to improved care, to be subject to less discrimination, and to enjoy greater inclusion in settings around them. This consisted in the following results:
- National Multi-sectoral HIV/AIDS Commission, including all government authorities with specific roles for the implementation of the strategy (including the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Finance), as well as civil society and PLWHA representatives;
- National Strategy on HIV/AIDS for 2004-2007, developed under the leadership of the Ministry of Public Health, evaluated and used for the revision of the next strategy;
- New national strategic document for HIV/AIDS covering the 2008–2013 period;
- Volunteer Counselling and Testing Centres (VCTC) in 18 counties and Bucharest;
- National HIV Prevention Strategy (and/or Action Plan) for adolescents most at risk of HIV, which is part of a multi-country* project implemented in CEE/CIS.
Capacity building of professionals in various sectors
The capacity building for enhancing the national response to HIV/AIDS in Romania has been developed with the participation of government and non-governmental institutions, professional associations, community-based organisations, the private sector, international organisations, and bilateral and multilateral donors. Results include better counselling services for and data collection regarding pregnant women, persons infected/affected by HIV/AIDS, and adolescents, with data collection analysed for decision-makers.
* Countries participating in the regional project are: Ukraine, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro.