A fruitful partnership: taking the fight against HIV/AIDS to a higher level in IranJul 17, 2015
In 2000, AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria together killed approximately 6 million people a year globally. The devastation to countries and communities led to the creation, in 2002, of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Communities and countries already know what needs to be done. The role of the Global Fund is to provide the financial support needed to fill the gaps in national strategies. As a 21st century financial institution, the Global Fund supports effective programs of prevention, treatment and care and ensuring that money goes to supporting the men, women and children affected by the diseases.
In 2005, the Global Fund grant started supporting the HIV/AIDS programme in close cooperation with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As of this year, the Centre for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health has embarked on a pilot project to enhance the effectiveness of services provided by “Harm Reduction Centres” through (i) instigating further harmonisation and coordination between the medical universities and State Welfare Organisation at provincial level; and (ii) upscaling the services by provision of standardised “comprehensive harm reduction pacakages” in all such service centres. A team from the Global Fund Geneva, Mr. Manab Basnet, Fund Portfolio Manager, Ms. Deepanjali Sapkota, Program Officer, visited Iran from 12 to 17 July. As part of its mission agenda, and to see from close the details of Iran’s enhanced approach to Harm Reduction, the GF team, accompanied by Dr. A. Sedaghat, National HIV Programme Manager and a UNDP team led by Mr. B. Murali, Deputy Resident Representative visited Isfahan on 14 July.
The visiting delegation was received by Dr. Gholam hossein Sadri, Deputy Chancellor of Isfahan medical University for a one-hour meeting. The meeting started by Dr. Sadri’s remarks who introduced the visitors and provided a presentation on the various elements of the pilot initiative.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Sadri welcomed the visiting team and confirmed that he and his team wish to enhance the services provide to the patients. “Our goal has always been to grant access to treatment with minimum cost. We believe we can treat HIV/AIDS and our partnership can make this goal achievable ” said Dr. Sadri.
The meeting went on with a presentation by Dr. Ramin Radfar, a private sector professional in charge of the pilot initiative that is run in a male Drop-in Centre located in a marginal neighbourhood called Haftoon.
During the meeting, Mr. Basnet also spoke stating: “The Global Fund was established based on the idea of country partnership and ownership of projects and this is very visible in Iran and the progressive achievements in the health care of the country is commendable. The facts and figures which depict the achievements speak volumes as they prove that we have one of the best teams in Isfahan.”
In his remarks made on behalf of UNDP, Mr. Murali said: “Capacity of Iran in the area of health and medical education is one of the best in the world. We are grateful for this three way partnership between the Government of Iran, the Global Fund and UNDP which has been – so far – ten years of fruitful partnership.”
The team then visited a Female Drop-In-Centre (DIC) for vulnerable women in Isfahan. The programme of the centre is based on harm reduction policies and supports the clients in various ways to empower them in different aspects related to the health and enables them to reduce the transmission of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) to themselves and others.
The main target groups of the centre are women who are eligible to receive HIV harm reduction services.
The centre offers services such as individual and group counselling for the clients, psychsocialal supports, health services, vocational training and social services amongst others.
During the visit, the team also visited Haftoon Male Drop in Centre. The provided services in the DIC includes individual and group counselling, psycho-social support, health services related to drug use, harm reduction services including needle and syringes, methadone therapy and others.