HIV study tour to Finland
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 20 December 2011. - Representatives from the Multisectoral Expert Council (MEC) on HIV, TB and Malaria under the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Health, the National AIDS Centre, Women’s Committee, the Mahalla Foundation and UNICEF took part in a study tour to Finland to learn about that country’s experience in effective multi-sector response to HIV/AIDS and in establishing community based system for provision of treatment and support for HIV positive population.
Finland is one of the countries that have an effective HIV response programmes especially in the area of PMTCT and prevention among most-at-risk adolescents. According to official sources, only 1 case of Mother to Child HIV transmission was recorded in 2010 in the country with a population of 5.5 million people.
“It was interesting to get acquainted with the strategies for reducing mother-to-child transmission and HIV prevention among most at risk populations including young people,” commented Ms Guzal Akramova, Manager of MEC which reports to the Cabinet of Ministers. “For our diverse group of delegates it was especially useful to see how government and civil society put their efforts together in shaping up an effective response to a joint threat that HIV poses.”
A debriefing meeting with study tour participants was held in UNICEF where they explored follow-up actions such as working with Mahalla committees (at the community level) to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Some participants have already developed their own plans to adapt and apply some of the successful HIV prevention, treatment and care measures to the context of Uzbekistan. At the debriefing meeting, the Roving Ambassador of Finland to Central Asia, Ms Tuula Yrjölä highlighted the importance of such study tours. “The visit of Uzbek delegation to Finland provided an excellent opportunity for both sides to exchange experiences and technical expertise. It has surely been a learning experience for both sides”.