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generation leadership for the AIDS response and MDGs, is it necessary?
May 09, 2011
response to my first article on New Generation Leadership among
young people, I have been requested by many to write more on this
important HIV and AIDS response mechanism. This week, I look at
why New Generation Leadership is important for the AIDS Response
and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in
Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) and the African UNION
(AU) say that Sub-Saharan Africa region still bears an inordinate
share of the global HIV burden, accounting for 11.3 million people
who were living with HIV in the region in 2009 and nearly one third
more then were living with the virus a decade earlier.
people in 15 of the most severely affected countries in the region,
incidence of HIV infection declined by more than 25 percent in an
estimated 22 countries as these young people have adopted safer
sexual behavior. Similar to HIV treatment access, the room for continued
improvement on this success is great, but there is very limited
date available on the treatment services for young people.
In 2009, globally,
comprehensive and correct knowledge about HIV among both young men
and women has increased slightly since 2008 but at only 34 percent,
the number of young people with this comprehensive knowledge is
barely one third of the UNGASS target of 95 percent, UNAIDS said.
For the almost
20 years, a lot of work by different actors has contributed to the
AIDS response at all levels. Preventive measures have been made
at all levels to minimize the impact of the epidemic jointly with
creating access to quality care, fighting stigma and discrimination
as well as addressing the social drivers of the epidemic such as
human right violations and gender inequality.
A lot of socio-economic
and geo-political factors have emanated with the advent of HIV that
have largely contributed towards the slow attainment of the MDGs
in many countries in the Sub Saharan Africa. Among the key factors
are issues of lost human capital, redirection of national resources
from national development agenda towards addressing the impact of
AIDS, increased costs of health care, increased sexual and gender
based violence especially against young people and women among others.
In Africa, young
people between 10-24 years constitute an important and significant
part of population. However, this is not reflected in their level
of influence and inclusion in public decision-making and policy
interpretation processes. The low and insignificant numbers of young
people participating in decision making and public policy institutions
across the globe evidence this, which require to be investigated
and answered urgently.
The MDGs outline
a comprehensive and ambitious plan to end extreme poverty and hunger,
ensure that all boys and girls complete primary school, promote
gender equality, improve the health of children and mothers, reverse
the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and protect the environment.
The ultimate objective of this agreement is to make the world a
better place for all by the year 2015.
AU and UNAIDS
say that looking at the recently held MDGs summit, it showed that
globally at worldwide level, the achievements seems to be promising
but Sub Saharan Africa is still a long way from achieving those
It is a fact
that young people are very central to the attainment of each of
the MDGs. The New Generation Leadership is crucial because it provides
a framework and platform for meaningful youth participation and
engagement in decision-making at all levels, governance, service
delivery, leadership and management. The New Generation Leadership
framework calls for more commitment, innovation and productivity
by both the young people and adults increased that can build and
fostered through strong adult and youth partnerships and coordinated
inter-generational knowledge and skills transfer at all levels.
"No Youth No Change" is a fundamental fact and more
than ever, now it is time to capitalize on the existing youth movement
for the AIDS response and also working towards the MDGs and enhance
a youth movement by providing space and opportunities for young
people to demand their sexual health rights, services and better
age and sex disaggregated data for informed decision making by advocating
with policy makers and other stakeholders.
In the next
episode of New Generation Leadership, we are going to look at the
different work streams that can be included in new generation leadership,
what are currently ongoing and promising practices from Africa and
across the globe. We shall also take time to look at the several
challenges to New Generation Leadership and the existing gaps.
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