The Point (Banjul)

2 January 2013

Gambia, Senegal Hold Cross-Border Forum On HIV/Aids

Stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS in The Gambia and Senegal last Friday held a daylong forum to discuss cross-border TB and HIV/AIDS intervention.

The one-day synergy in the Kaolack region of Senegal was attended by representatives of community-based organizations, security officers and regional health teams of Farafenni and Essau.

The event was funded by USAID in partnership with support from National Alliance for Control of HIV/AIDS.

Margaret Mboge, executive director of National Alliance for Control of HIV/AIDS, said the partnership with the Gambia authorities in promoting the fight against cross-border HIV and TB would obviously contribute to raising public awareness and enhancing response and universal access to treatment.

She said the fight against TB and HIV/AIDS at the cross border calls for concerted efforts of all stakeholders, adding that it would enhance effective follow-up in accessing treatment.

The meeting was held to strengthen and promote holistic approach by both countries to adopt common strategy in providing universal access to treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS and TB along the cross border regions of The Gambia and Senegal.

They plan to meet a large mobilized crowd of the communities living on either side of the border and will allow communities from both countries to share and exchange their HIV related concerns.

Lamin Queen Jammeh, governor of North Bank Region, lauded the initiative saying "government is very much committed" to the fight against TB and HIV/AIDS.

The cross border convergence would strengthen HIV/AIDS response and promote universal access, he said.

He thanked the governments of Senegal and Gambia for their resolve in promoting the healthcare service delivery of the population.

The NBR Governor calls on stakeholders in HIV and TB response to strengthen information sharing and services to people infected with the virus.

Abdul Aziz, Jagne governor for development in Kaolack region, lauded the initiatives of both countries in HIV response and promoting greater understanding at the cross border in The Gambia and Senegal.

He hails the efforts of religious and traditional leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS and calls on all hands on deck to promote this noble crusade.

Monsieur Jagne assures of Kaolack's fullest support and cooperation in promoting and strengthening HIV response for the most vulnerable groups in society in both countries.

Ahmed Jegan Loum, president of Network for AIDS Service Organization (NASO), who doubles as project coordinator of Worldview HIV project, applauded the efforts of civil society organizations and all stakeholders in The Gambia and Senegal.

There is need for both countries to be proactive in strengthen cross-border intervention to enhance effective service delivery, he said.

Alpha Khan, deputy director of NAS, noted that cross-border response to co-infections including HIV/AIDS, would enhance the fight against HIV/AIDS.

He said the initiative would help countries to work together in providing universal access to ARTs as well as strengthen follow-up visits of patients.

The cross border in HIV/AIDS response is targeting communities in remote and landlocked areas and the insecurity factors of the conditions of living in those underprivileged areas.

Mr Khan also said NAS would support this noble initiative.

The Gambian and Senegalese participants at the event have agreed to adopt common strategy and resolutions to enhance effective service delivery.

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