Southern Africa: HIV Infection

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered am ar 8 Ebrill 2010.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Neil Gerrard Neil Gerrard Llafur, Walthamstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to fulfil its commitments under the Achieving Universal Access AIDS Strategy, in (a) Lesotho, (b) Botswana and (c) Swaziland.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)'s role under the Government's Achieving Universal Access HIV strategy is primarily focused on advocacy and lobbying to support the aims of the strategy. In doing this, we work closely with a broad range of partners in relevant countries, including the host government, non-government and multilateral organisations and other major donors.

Given the continued high level of infection rates in Southern Africa, there are several large bilateral and multilateral donors working with the governments in Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. The FCO's efforts in these countries are therefore focused on providing political support to the major donors and international organisations, as well as providing support to non-government organisations.

For example, in Botswana, our high commission follows the HIV situation and policies closely, maintains links with the National AIDS Coordination Agency and the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS. It also looks for opportunities to support the major bilateral HIV/AIDS donors in addressing sensitive issues.

Our non-resident diplomatic representation to Lesotho or Swaziland is based at our high commission in Pretoria, where our staff monitor and report on developments in country and have a dialogue with a range of relevant partners on HIV/AIDS issues. In Swaziland, for example, we have held discussions with the National Director of the National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS as well as a number of non-governmental organisations.

Our high commissions in Pretoria and Gaborone work closely with the Department for International Development (DFID) Southern Africa (based in Pretoria, South Africa), responsible for DFID's work in Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland. Tackling HIV in the region is a priority for DFID Southern Africa. For example, DFID Southern Africa is funding a £23 million Behaviour Change Communication Programme across 10 countries (including Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland), reaching 60 per cent. of the youth population. They are also contributing £18 million to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Children and AIDS Regional Initiative across six countries (including Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland), helping orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS. At the national level in Lesotho, DFID Southern Africa is providing £2.5 million to the Apparel Lesotho Alliance to Fight AIDS (ALAFA) programme, providing HIV prevention, treatment and care services to 48,000 factory workers, 80 per cent. of whom are women.

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