5 Aug 2004

Forum in Samoa to endorse Aids strategy

3:30 pm on 5 August 2004

The Pacific Island Forum leaders, who meet in Samoa for three days from tomorrow, are to endorse a Regional Strategy to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The Strategy is the work of the Pacific Community, which with the assistance of aid donors, developed it at the request of last year's Forum summit where a five year strategy to fight HIV was called for.

Don Wiseman reports from Apia.

"The SPC's Dr Jimmy Rodgers says the strategy, which he hopes will be starting to have an impact as early as December this year, has three core features. These are the leadership that is seen as necessary to fight the disease....and he says this means leadership at every level from politicians, and including organisations such as churches. The second is the need for inclusiveness.....involving all the countries, building the capacity to cope with the disease at a national level, ...involve HIV/AIDS victims in the implementation of the plan and harness the willingness to help of NGO's and donor agencies, so resources are co-ordinated. The aim Dr. Rodgers says is to ensure everyone is singing from the same song sheet, and develop more efficient assistance. Dr Rodgers says the third key aspect is that the member countries will be required to report against targets, with the first reports due by the end of this year. He says some of the countries lack the ability to fulfil this requirement so the Strategy will rely on agencies and NGOs to help them build the capacity to meet their responsibilities."