By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The government is intent on availing citizens an HIV/Aids free environment within five years.
This was revealed by the president of Somaliland Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo during a meeting of the Somaliland National HIV/Aids Commission-SOLNAC he chaired in his capacity as the commission’s chairperson in Hargeisa where an appeal for enhanced support to the commission was also made.
“We appeal to the international community, affluent citizens in and out of the country as well as other well-wishers to support either or both financially and materially the activities of SOLNAC’ said president Silanyo
The head of state of commended the Global Fund anti Tuberculosis and Malaria-GFAT&M for sponsoring HIV/Aids interventions in the country over the years also revealed that diminishing funds from the body have necessitated an urgency hitherto not needed.
Briefing on the infectious virus that was first discovered in the 1980s and has so far devastated many communities especially in Africa and Asia president Silanyo said Somaliland where reported its first HIV/Aids case in 1992 is currently shouldering the responsibilities of 1% of the population that are infected.
“While we are fortunate to have a meagerly 1% of our population infected thus living with HIV/Aids, we are determined as an administration and country to not only take care of our infected by eliminate new infections within five years” said president Silanyo.
As he informed of concerted worldwide efforts to combat the HIV virus the head of state who said Somaliland wants to partake and benefit from this efforts issued a 7 points statement that read.
Quote- In its commitment to combat HIV/Aids in the country the government of Somaliland assisted by other stakeholders both local and international established the Somaliland National HIV/Aids Commission-SOLNAC to spearhead related activities.
In order for Somaliland to attain the status of an HIV/Aids free nation and despite being less affected than others, difficulties exists thus imperative for concerted efforts from each and every one of us.
Having noted that GFAT&M which has been Somaliland’s and other countries major donor is currently engulfed by financial constraints as a result of the downslide in the economies of donor nations, I therefore, send this appeal to all Somaliland citizens and the international community for immediate support to SOLNAC so as to achieve plans to eliminate or drastically diminish HIV/Aids infections in the country within the targeted five years from now.
In view of the above and the diminishing operational funds of SOLNAC which does not sufficient funds from the central government or various international bodies engaged in HIV/Aids interventions and in my capacity as president of Somaliland and chairperson of SOLNAC hereby urge somalilanders and the international community to augment forthcoming budget from the government.
To this effect
1. The 2014 national budget shall allocate a substantial percentage to SOLNAC
2. A comprehensive survey shall be undertaken nationwide and especially in hotspot areas thus ascertain prevalent status and assist in design of strategies to reach plan of total elimination or drastic diminishing of HIV/Aids in the country.
3. I hereby, order the ministry of information and national guidance to immediately embark on regular nationwide HIV/Aids awareness campaigns by allocating sufficient time and space to the state owned TV and radio stations as well as newspapers.
4. I order the ministry Resettlement and related bodies to ensure that People living with HIV/Aids are availed sufficient quantizes of any food donations made to the country thus supplement current donations by the government and WFP
5. I order the national HIV/Aids Commission-SOLNAC and partner agencies to ensure that People Living with HIV/Aids no longer live in shame by intensifying anti discrimination and stigmatization campaigns.
6. I ask the local business community to support anti HIV/Aids activities for it is a virus that can infect anyone thus need deterrence.
7. I request the international and local organizations undertaking HIV/Aids interventions to double their efforts and support
I remain Hopeful that our concerted efforts shall not only eliminate the virus and its infections in our country but uplift the living standards of those among our citizens currently afflicted. President of Somaliland –Unquote
According to figures from SOLNAC there are 40 cases of new infections report monthly in the country that supplies anti-viral drugs free of charge to all infected persons.