(PRWEB) November 28, 2004
Ethiopia is one of AfricaÂs largest and poorest countries. Approximately 10% of EthiopiaÂs 60 million people are HIV positive but less then 3 % know they are infected. Nonetheless, community responses have been early and strong. Mekdim, which means Â« pioneer Â» in Amharic, has been the first, largest and one of the most successful national NGO involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. MekdimÂs membership is over 10,000, and medical services are provided through community clinics to thousands of patients each year. Among these patients, only 102 have access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) made possible through the AIDSETI Network of associations of people living with HIV/AIDS (or APLWHAs), of which Mekdim is one member.
AIDSETI (AIDS Empowerment and Treatment International) is an international organization registered in the USA and Burkina Faso. AIDSETI began five years ago through the creation of a network of 22 APLWHA in 14 countries of Africa and the Caribbean.
In many countries, these member associations are the main source for ART. The experience to date indicates that this unique community based approach to scaling up ART is both feasible and replicable. In spite of this experience, many institutional providers of health care in the private and public sectors, whether national or foreign, are reluctant to test the association driven care and treatment (ADCT). Burkina Faso, Burundi and Ethiopia are notable exceptions.
The ADCT model fosters decentralization and flexibility, integrates best clinical practices, and engages national health care policy. The ADCT model targets support to primary stakeholders by empowering those persons in the community who have a substantial interest in the wise and ethical management of limited resources. Through careful management of their own health care resources, APLWHAs offer a feasible, replicable approach to the delivery of HIV/AIDS care and treatment in resource-poor settings. This is why AIDSETI has fought tirelessly for the recognition of APLWHAs as integral to any national attempt to successfully scale up quality cost effective HIV/AIDS healthcare in resource-deprived communities. In this regard, Mekdim leadership has been universally acknowledged throughout Ethiopia by government, NGOs, and relevant stakeholders as a key driver in the national response to HIV/AIDS. MekdimÂs success demonstrates why AIDSETI advocates energetically that the ADCT model be implemented with affected communities taking a central role in the production of healthcare.
To highlight this positive African success story, and to get the importance of our model discussed openly, AIDSETI and Mekdim, in partnership with the government of Ethiopia through its national HIV/AIDS Council, have organized various activities that will take place in Addis Ababa on December 5, 2004. Some of the highlights include dedication of a monument to frontline HIV/AIDS fighters, an international symposium on ÂPartnerships and Innovative Approaches to Scaling - up Access to ARV treatment in Deprived Settings: The Example of the AIDSETI Association-Driven Care and Treatment Model (ADCT)Â ; a public and national TV live broadcasted musical concert ; and an award (first edition of the APLWHA Appreciation Award) ceremony to recognize governments, private companies, foundations, and outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves by their significant contribution to empower APLWHAs in the fight against HIV/AIDS. All these events will be presided over by his Excellency, the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, accompanied by ministers of health and by representatives of key international institutions and public and private organizations involved in the fight against AIDS in Ethiopia and all over Africa.
Press Release Contacts:
# # #