Using Egypt’s AIDS Program as a Model

Yemen’s Minister of Health addresses participants at a USAID-sponsored advocacy meeting in Sanaa
Yemen’s Minister of Health addresses participants at a USAID-sponsored advocacy meeting in Sanaa alongside officials from Family Health International, World Health Organization, UNICEF, UN Development Program, and Yemen’s National AIDS Program.
FHI/Scott McGill
Helping Countries in the Middle East Build Strong HIV/AIDS Programs
“There is a great need for technical assistance in all areas if we are to respond to the threat of HIV/AIDS,” said an official from Yemen’s National AIDS Program. In coordination with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, USAID is helping countries in the Middle East develop effective HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

Challenge

When USAID helped start Egypt’s first HIV/AIDS program in 1997, little was known about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Egypt. The program aimed to strengthen the capacity and infrastructure of public and private organizations in areas such as voluntary counseling and testing, behavioral surveillance surveys, outreach to at-risk groups, and providing care for those living with HIV. As local capacity to implement effective HIV/AIDS strategies has grown, USAID strives to ensure that the knowledge and experience acquired there can be used to help other countries develop the capacity to fight HIV/AIDS.

Initiative

In response, USAID is funding a regional effort to disseminate lessons learned from Egypt’s experience. The effort includes a series of regional workshops in Cairo that serve as a knowledge-sharing platform to identify best practices and adapt them to meet each country’s needs. Inviting both policy-makers and technical staff ensures that best practices identified at the workshops can be readily applied in countries with similar cultural practices and low rates of HIV/AIDS prevalence. The workshops also establish valuable connections between HIV/AIDS programs in neighboring countries and allow experts to share experiences and expertise. USAID also funds experts who visit selected countries and provide further consultations.

Results

USAID funded workshops on voluntary counseling and testing and behavioral surveillance surveys in Cairo for 58 participants from 17 countries, yielding a total of 28 action plans. Yemen was selected to receive in-country consultations on creating voluntary counseling and testing services, thanks to its high-quality action plan, motivated personnel, and political commitment. In Yemen, experts held an advocacy workshop with important stakeholders, helped draft national guidelines and operating procedures, and assisted in selecting a pilot voluntary counseling and testing site in Sanaa. As more countries in the region develop HIV/AIDS programs, there will be more experiences and best practices to learn from, benefitting both the program quality and the people they serve.

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Last updated: November 22, 2013

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