Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mr. Ghulam Seddiq Rasuli, Permanent Representative
10 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
GHULAM SEDDIQ RASULI ( Afghanistan) reiterated his country’s full commitment to the global fight, and stressed that his Government was working with its development partners to strengthen national efforts. In that respect, Afghanistan’s HIV/AIDS response was aligned with its National Development Strategy and the Millennium Development Goals. Despite current security constraints, the Ministry of Public Health had managed to provide HIV/AIDS services covering prevention, treatment and care even in the most insecure and remote provinces. The implementation of voluntary counselling and testing services, as part of the basic package of health services, had successfully increased the provision of HIV testing and provided a key entry point to life-sustaining care and treatment, which was essential for preventing the vertical transmission of HIV.
Continuing, he said that while poverty was a critical underlying driver of the epidemic in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Public Health aimed to alleviate any social or economic barriers to accessing health services by providing free care, in order to improve the health of all Afghans. The Government had reached out, in partnership with civil society, to society’s most vulnerable segments: drug users, prisoners and sex workers. Because stigma and discrimination continued to pose obstacles to accessing prevention and care services, the Ministry of Health had stepped up efforts to decrease those phenomena through information, education and communication campaigns. The country’s programme and priorities were encapsulated in the its national HIV/AIDS policy and the new HIV/AIDS Strategy (2011-2015), which served as a guide to achieving zero news infections, zero stigma and zero HIV-related deaths.