UNDP, Global Fund expand HIV work in Uzbekistan

17 Apr 2012

imageA technician testing blood for HIV in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan)

Tashkent—The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has signed a consolidated agreement with the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Uzbekistan, expanding the response to the spread of AIDS in Central Asia.

The Consolidated Grant agreement, signed in early 2012, supports national HIV initiatives by improving monitoring and evaluation as well as providing treatment, care, and prevention services, with a focus on those most at risk.

“The strong results of the UNDP-Global Fund HIV programme in Uzbekistan demonstrate the success of UNDP’s partnerships with national actors and the Global Fund,” Haoling Xu, Deputy Director at UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe & the CIS, said. “With the continuation of these partnerships, under the consolidated HIV programme, we hope to see continued improvement in the lives of those living with HIV in Uzbekistan.”

UNDP Uzbekistan previously provided administrative and management support to the Republican AIDS Center for the HIV component of the Global Fund programme there. In August 2010, UNDP was asked to become Principal Recipient for the Global Fund’s HIV programmes in Uzbekistan.

Under a previous Round 3 HIV grant, the national HIV programme reported that as of December 2011, 3,832 eligible HIV-positive people were receiving life-saving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and more than 31,700 young people had received peer education—supported by UNDP and the Global Fund. The programme had also reached more than 16,100 drug users through treatment centers and community outreach.

HIV affects all 14 Administrative Territories in Uzbekistan, with an adult prevalence of less than 1 percent. As of January 2010, some 30,000 people were believed to be living with HIV in Uzbekistan, while some 15,892 people were officially registered as infected with the virus.

Infection among women on the rise

People who use drugs and sex workers remain at high risk of infection, with drug use largely driving the spread of HIV. In recent years, however, the proportion of people who inject drugs among new infections has decreased as sexual transmission of HIV, particularly among women, has risen.

“The government is paying special attention to this issue. Our job now is early detection and diagnosis of infected people and to provide medical care,” Nurmat Atabekov, Director of the Republican AIDS Center, said.

This HIV programme aims to increase the number of people with access to life-saving ART drug treatment, prevention, and treatment of opportunistic infections.  It will also strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations and networks of people living with HIV.

“In the implementation of this grant, we are going to have a number of very, very important partners without whom it will be extremely difficult to get the services out and to get the support out,” Anita Nirody, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan, said.

“We have a very close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Republican AIDS Center. We are also working very closely with a number of society-based organizations across the country so that we can most effectively deliver the grant in a coordinated way.”

Legal protection

“When Uzbekistan gained its independence, the first law concerning health care was the law to fight against AIDS,” Atabekov said. That law protected people infected with HIV from discrimination and guaranteed them free health care.

Some 200 government health clinics have been set up around the country, providing medical care, counseling, and other services. More than 90 percent of children born to HIV-positive mothers in Uzbekistan are receiving preventive treatment.

UNDP has partnered with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria since 2003 to support implementation of HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria programs in low- and middle-income countries.

UNDP’s primary role is to support national partners to strengthen capacity and make effective use of Global Fund financing, including by leveraging governance, partnerships, procurement, financing, and programme management skills.

In this role UNDP works with the Global Fund to improve management, implementation and oversight of Global Fund grants.  As of March 2012, UNDP was acting as Principal Recipient in 29 countries, managing a total of 65 active grants totaling US$ 1.4 billion.