Swaziland joins the rest of the African Community to Commemorate the Day of the African Child

Background:

Every year, the Day of the African Child is commemorated by Member States of the African Union (AU) and its Partners (in accordance with the OAU Resolution CM/Res.1290 (XL). The DAC presents an opportunity to focus on the work of all actors committed to the rights of children on the continent, thus consolidating their efforts in addressing the obstacles for realizing these rights. It also provides an occasion for Governments, International Institutions and Communities to renew their on-going commitments towards improving the plight of children by organizing activities aimed at including children themselves

Justification:

 Since 2007, Swaziland declared June as children’s month.  The month provides the country with an opportunity to intensify advocacy on children’s issues. This then culminates to the commemoration of the Day of the African child. Every first week of June, the Government of Swaziland has continued to renew commitment to dedicating a whole month to intensify advocacy for children’s agenda by declaring June as children’s month on the first week of the month. However for 2017 the Launch of the Children’s month is proposed to be on the 1st June 2017 (Thursday) and it will take the form of a Media Launch with children’s participating during the day. During the Launch all stakeholders, including children, will convene to a proposed central venue and during the commemoration we propose Shiselweni Region at Eqinisweni Primary School on the 15th June 2017 (Thursday). The basis for choosing Shiselweni is the availability of the Eqinisweni School which provides a good model for inclusive education

Consultation:

 The preparation for both the Launch and the commemoration event is coordinated by the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, in particular the Children’s Department, in collaboration with, other relevant government ministries, CANGO NGO Children’s Consortium and UNICEF Swaziland.

Analysis:

The theme selected by the African Committee for the celebration of the DAC in 2017 is “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment, and equal opportunity”. The child friendly version of the theme is simply “Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for children in Africa by 2030”. As stakeholders we have agreed to focus on children with disabilities and our proposed localised theme is “For every child: protection, empowerment and equal opportunity.” The current issues facing children with disabilities require maximum protection, empowerment and equal opportunities. Hence we would like complement the Government of Swaziland’s efforts to enact the Persons with Disabilities Bill of 2015. Through this month and beyond we propose to also make visible all the other issues experienced by children with disabilities. Apart from the focus on children with disabilities, stakeholders would also use this opportunity to advocate for early identification and intervention of children with disability, safer school as centres of care and support through engaging teachers on positive discipline, and to raise awareness on the magnitude of sexual violence leading to the enactment of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill.

Preferred action:

Given that Swaziland is a member of the AU and is also signatory to the UN CRC and African Charter on Welfare of children, the country is expected to commemorate the 2017 Day of the African Child.

Implementation plan:

Activity Proposed Venue Proposed date

      Launch of Children’s month

Sibane Hotel, Ezulwini 8th June 2017
   Commemoration of the Day of the African Child Eqinisweni Primary School in Nhlangano Swaziland

Thursday 15th June 2017

      Communities:

4 dialogues to be held at comunities with the guidance of chiefs to facilitate discussing child rights.

Proposed for all four (4) Regions of Swaziland. 26th – 30th June 2017
 Radio programme:

Panelists hosted on the FODSWA radio programme “Teluleko ngekukhubateka” once every week for 6 months. VOC to be approached for additional slots.

National Radio June – December 2017

Documentary on the campaign issues to highlight children’s views on disability and violence. This will also include video clips with voices from the Champions (Chiefs), teachers and children

Proposed for all four (4) Regions June – December 2017

 

For more information about the DAC commemoration in Swaziland, please contact Lungile Mnisi at CANGO offices at 2404 4721 or email her at advocacyofficer@cango.org.sz.

 

 

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CANGO Participating at the Global HIV Prevention Coalition 2020 in Geneva

For quick updates on the Global HIV Prevention Coalition in Geneva, follow @CANGO3 on twitter and more of these hashtags; #GlobalHIVPreventionCoalition #GPC2020

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Because we are a global citizen, follow for more issues including the Global Fund high level visits to communities in Swaziland and the International Day of the Girl Child commemoration.

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UNAIDS and UNFPA launch road map to stop new HIV infections

_PAL4111PRESS RELEASE

Global HIV Prevention Coalition holds first meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to find ways to strengthen and sustain political commitment for HIV prevention 

GENEVA, 10 October 2017—As part of global efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat, UNAIDS, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners have launched a new road map to reduce new HIV infections. The HIV prevention 2020 road map was launched at the first meeting of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition. The coalition is chaired by the Executive Directors of UNAIDS and UNFPA and brings together United Nations Member States, civil society, international organizations and other partners as part of efforts to reduce new HIV infections by 75% by 2020.

Despite progress in reducing AIDS-related deaths, which have fallen by nearly 50% since the peak of the epidemic, declines in new HIV infections among adults are lagging. While new HIV infections among children have fallen by 47% since 2010, new HIV infections among adults have declined by only 11%.

“Scaling up treatment alone will not end AIDS,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We need more energy and action put into HIV prevention—stronger leadership, increased investment and community engagement to ensure that everyone, particularly people at higher risk of HIV, can protect themselves against the virus.”

“In many places, lack of access to education, lack of agency and lack of autonomy over their own bodies keep adolescent girls from claiming their human rights. And the poorest girls have the least power to decide whether, when or whom to marry and whether, when or how often to become pregnant,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. “This lack of power makes each one of these girls extremely vulnerable to HIV infection, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy.”

In 2016, in the United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS, countries committed to reduce new HIV infections by 75%—from 2.2 million in 2010 to 500 000 in 2020. The new road map developed by UNAIDS, UNFPA and partners will put countries on the Fast-Track to achieve this important target.

“The Coalition is here to recognize that we all matter,” said Laurel Sprague, Executive Director, The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+). “That means doing the hard work to ensure that people living with HIV are able to stay healthy, alive, and free from soul-crushing prejudice and discrimination—and the hard work to make sure that everyone who is not HIV-positive has the support and resources they need to remain HIV negative.”

The HIV prevention 2020 road map contains a 10-point action plan that lays out immediate, concrete steps countries need to take to accelerate progress. Steps include conducting up-to-date analysis to assess where the opportunities are for maximum impact, developing guidance to identify gaps and actions for rapid scale-up, training to develop expertise in HIV prevention and on developing networks and addressing legal and policy barriers to reach the people most affected by HIV, including young people and key populations.

The road map identifies factors that have hindered progress, such as gaps in political leadership, punitive laws, a lack of services accessible to young people and a lack of HIV prevention services in humanitarian settings. It also highlights the importance of community engagement as advocates, to ensure service delivery and for accountability.

The road map also identifies serious gaps in funding and budget allocation—UNAIDS estimates that around one quarter of HIV budgets should be allocated to HIV prevention programmes; however, in 2016, many countries were spending less than 10% of their HIV budgets on prevention, and many international donors were spending less than a quarter.

“UNAIDS is urging commitment and leadership for measurable results,” said Mr Sidibé. “Leadership to address sensitive political issues and leadership in mobilizing adequate funding of HIV prevention programmes.”

To reduce new HIV infections by 75% will require an intensive focus on HIV prevention, combined with the scale-up of HIV testing and treatment. Taking a location–population-based approach to ensure effective and efficient planning and programming, and a people-centred approach that responds to the needs of people at higher risk of HIV, will be critical.

Concerted efforts will be needed to reach adolescent girls and young women and their male partners, to scale up combination HIV prevention programmes for key populations, to increase the availability and uptake of condoms, to expand voluntary medical male circumcision programmes for HIV prevention and to ensure that people at higher risk of HIV have access to preventative medicines.

The road map encourages countries to develop a 100-day plan for immediate actions, including setting national targets, reviewing the progress made against the plan after 100 days, reassessing their national prevention programmes and taking immediate remedial action. It outlines how different partners can contribute and includes actions for civil society, development partners, philanthropic institutions and the business community. By reaching these targets, progress in reducing new HIV infections should accelerate significantly, setting countries firmly on the path towards ending their AIDS epidemics.

HIV prevention 2020 road map http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/documents/2017/hiv-prevention-2020-road-map

FAWESWA calls for Financing Strategy to eliminate teenage pregnancies and HIV infections

Press release

05 October 2017

The Forum for Africa Women Educationalist Chapter (FAWESWA) wishes to comment in relation to a newspaper article published by the Times of Swaziland dated September 26, 2017, titled “Shocker: 31 Mvimbeko pupils fall pregnant” as they are losing an opportunity to further their studies which would bail them out of poverty.

The annual Education Census, 2013, reported that the large number of girls dropped out of school due to pregnancy. The figures shown were even above for those who dropped out of school due to fees and family reasons. According to the report, 616 out of 2285 pupils dropped out of school due to pregnancy, meaning 30% drooped out because of pregnancy. The highest number of pregnant girls was observed in Form Two.

Not only does teenage pregnancy delay children to finish school within the acceptable years, it also increases high chances among the youth, especially adolescent and young girls of getting infected with HIV. Continue reading

CANGO applauds His Majestys Government on decreasing the HIV incidence rate amongst adults in Swaziland.

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Kingdom of Swaziland

The Swaziland HIV and AIDS Consortium of NGOs and Civil Society Organisations under the auspices of the Coordinating assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) would like to join the nation in expressing our congratulation in the recently launched Swaziland HIV Incident Measurement Survey (SHIMS2) by the Right Honourable Prime Minister, Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini.That the HIV incidence has decreased by half and those virally suppressed also improved is great news for the Kingdom of Swaziland. This counts as an achievement for the nation in its fight against HIV/AIDS, a clear demonstration that when leadership at all levels, especially the political leadership, is determined, more can be achieved as a country.
 
When His Majesty the King, Mswati III declared HIV/AIDS as a national disaster in 1999, this act of courage and leadership galvanised the Government, Non-Governmental Organisations, Faith Based Organisations, Traditional Authorities, the private sector, ordinary citizens, international partners, and people who were already living with HIV and AIDS to take action under the banner “I AIDS Indandzaba Yetfu Sonkhe”.The Government of Swaziland prioritised the response even in its budget ensuring that the Ministry of Health respond appropriately to the disaster the nation was facing.We saw this through the creation of The National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS (NERCHA) under the Prime Minister’s Office in 2001 and subsequently through an act of Parliament in 2003 to coordinate and facilitate the National Multisectoral HIV/AIDS response.We also witnessed the global solidarity when the United Nations set up UNAIDS and subsequently the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
 
Then the then United States of America, President George W Bush set up The U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), an initiative to combat global HIV/AIDS, TB,and Malaria for hard hit focus countries. Regional organisations such as the African Union, Southern African Development Community (SADC) also took steps to mobilise resources and expertise in solidarity to fight a common enemy that was threatening to wipe the world. This Swaziland’s good story will not be possible without the role played by international organisations and partners of the government. We would like to applaud the role that NGOs played in the early 80s when the HIV issue was just emerging as a mysterious disease. We are also aware of the Government of Swaziland’s efforts to work closely with NGOs and Faith Based organisation through the National AIDS Programme (SNAP).
 
Government ensured that the mulltisectoral response aimed at the realisation that HIV and AIDS was not just a health problem but a disease making every sector of the society feel the brunt. NERCHA was then launched to coordinate the HIV and AIDS response which they have done with commitment under leadership of His Excellency the Right Honourable Prime Minister. After the declaration of HIV and AIDS as a national disaster CANGO responded itself by setting up the very same Swaziland HIV and AIDS Consortium (SHACO) in 1999. This has been a critical platform where implementing civil society organisations are coordinated, linked with supporting partners to solidify response and act as “a voice of the voiceless”.
 
From donors, a number of programmes were on the ground implemented by members. Indeed, we appreciate NERCHA for having embraced all sectors including SHACO, Swaziland Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (SWANEPHA), Alliance of Mayors’ Initiative for Community Action Against HIV/AIDS at Local Level (AMICAALL), Swaziland Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS (SWABCHA), and the Church Forum. They provided
some funds, guidelines and platforms for joint engagement of these apexes.
 
The Ministry of Health has remained the bedrock for the responses in the country. They faced enormous challenges but through it all tried their best to provide succour to those
who needed support. We applaud the army of volunteers including the Rural Health Motivators who even without remunerations were able and willing to lend support to the infected and affected some of them risking contracting infections themselves. We note that the battle is far from over. The good news only serves to galvanise all the actors to continue to do more as big results are being seen. There is no room for
complaisance.
 
Global targets in the fight against HIV are pointing towards the elimination of HIV. The programmatic language now talks of three FREES; which means START FREE – eliminate
new HIV infections; STAY FREE – reduce 95% of new infections; and AIDS FREE – provide treatment for all HIV patients. Government has to continue to pump in more resources as international funding has levelled off and is projected to decline due to competing global problems. More importantly, it is for individuals to take the responsibility to prevent new infections. We can all start by taking a test and commence treatment as soon as possible while there is still time. Indeed, we call all sing a new song; a song of hope that we can get there – forward ever towards 90-90-90. Backwards never!
 
Miss. Hlobisile G. Nxumalo
Acts of Faith Executive Director
Chairperson of the Swaziland HIV & AIDS Consortium (SHACO)

Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS 2) shows significant reduction of new HIV infections among Swazi adults.

 

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Kingdom of Swaziland.

Washington, D.C./Paris—Groundbreaking data from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) show that the HIV epidemic is coming under control across all age groups in Swaziland, the country with the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Additional PEPFAR-supported studies released in December 2016 for Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe demonstrate significant progress toward controlling the HIV epidemics in these countries as well.

According to the latest Swaziland HIV Incidence Measurement Survey (SHIMS 2) released today, new HIV infections have been nearly halved among adults, and HIV viral load suppression – a key marker of the body successfully controlling the virus – has doubled in Swaziland since 2011. These data suggest that Swaziland has met the global target for community viral load suppression among HIV-positive adults four years ahead of schedule. The Swaziland data is particularly important because PEPFAR funded a comprehensive survey in 2011-2012, which provides the critical baseline comparator of current results and progress.

Over the same time period, life-saving antiretroviral treatment (ART) nearly doubled in Swaziland, reaching over 80 percent ART coverage among adults. Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) coverage also rose from 13 to 29 percent in the country. In addition, the critical PEPFAR-supported public-private DREAMS Partnership (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe), which focuses on reducing HIV infections among girls and women ages 10-24, was launched in 2015.

Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, said, “We now have clear evidence that four African countries are approaching control of their HIV epidemics. These unprecedented findings demonstrate the remarkable impact of the U.S. government’s efforts, through PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in partnership with African countries. We now have a historic opportunity to change the very course of the HIV pandemic.”

Data from these four countries were gathered through critical household surveys, known as Population-Based HIV Impact Assessments (PHIAs), which are funded by PEPFAR and conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ICAP at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, as well as by local governmental and non-governmental partners. The data from Swaziland draw from two household surveys (SHIMS 1 and SHIMS 2) that directly measured new HIV infections and viral load suppression in 2011 and 2016 respectively.

“The findings from SHIMS 2 are a testimony to the remarkable commitment by the Government of Swaziland to confronting the HIV epidemic,” said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, Director of ICAP. “It is a demonstration that all the efforts put into the scale-up of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services have borne fruit.”

While the PHIA results demonstrate tremendous progress, they also reveal key gaps in HIV prevention and treatment programming for younger men and women that require urgent attention and action. In all four surveys, women ages 15-24 and men under age 35 were less likely to know their HIV status, be on HIV treatment, or be virally suppressed than older adults. These gaps are all areas in which PEPFAR continues to invest and innovate, including efforts to reduce HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women through the DREAMS Partnership and to reach and link more young men to HIV services.

“These results from Swaziland signal a dramatic transformation in a country where HIV was destabilizing families, communities, and the economy,” said Shannon Hader, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB. “They also show what we must do next to achieve HIV epidemic control. Global efforts are working – we can’t stop now.”

Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the 13 highest-burden countries where PEPFAR is accelerating its efforts toward reaching epidemic control by 2020 through the UNAIDS 90-90-90 framework and expansion of HIV prevention. PEPFAR also continues to invest in over 50 countries, ensuring access to services by all populations, including the most vulnerable and at-risk groups while partnering with host governments, the Global Fund, UNAIDS, and others. This includes maintaining life-saving ART for all of the people that PEPFAR currently supports and expanding both HIV prevention and treatment services, where possible, through increased performance, efficiency gains, and shared responsibility of all partners.

About PEPFAR

PEPFAR is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Through the compassion and generosity of the American people, PEPFAR has saved and improved millions of lives, accelerating progress toward controlling and ultimately ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat. For more information, please visit www.pepfar.gov, and follow PEPFAR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. PEPFAR full information brief can be found at https://www.pepfar.gov/press/releases/2017/272788.htm

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