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Djibouti to control AIDS, malaria and TB

afrol News, 30 May - The government of Djibouti is to invest US$ 12 million in improved control of the three major diseases threatening the country's public health; HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The Djiboutian government is setting up and implementing a response against HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, malaria and tuberculosis, of which the latter two are important cofactors to HIV risk.

Djibouti has one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world among young adults, with numbers steadily rising. According to UN estimates, some 14 percent of Djiboutian women in the age group 15 to 24 are HIV infected.

The new government project is to address this situation by supporting the implementation of Djibouti's HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan, the National Malaria Strategic Plan, and the National Tuberculosis Strategic Plan through a wide variety of public sector agencies, private and non-governmental organizations, and community-based organisations.

One of the main objectives of the project is "to contribute to the change in behaviour of the population in order to contain or reduce the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, to mitigate its impact on infected and affected persons, and to contribute to the control of malaria and tuberculosis."

The programme also is to do so through a so-called "multisectoral approach," including prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS by reducing transmission, in particular among high-risk groups; expanding access to treatment of opportunistic illnesses, malaria, and tuberculosis, providing care, support, and treatment of those inflicted with the diseases; and supporting multisectoral, civil society, and community initiatives for HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and malaria and tuberculosis prevention.

The project is also to include four major components including capacity building and policy development; public health sector responses to HIV/AIDS management including prevention, treatment, and care of sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis, and prevention, control and treatment of malaria; multisectoral response to HIV/AIDS prevention and care; and support to community-based initiatives for the three diseases.

These activities are to "take into account the existing conditions and Djibouti's capacity both at the central and the district levels, recognising that at present capacity is weak at both levels," the project description says.

The World Bank yesterday approved a US$ 12 million grant to help the Djiboutian government implement the ambitious programme.

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