Statements and Webcast
H. E. Dr. Itamar Grotto, Director of Public Health Services
10 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
ITAMAR GROTTO, Director of Public Health Services, Ministry of Health of Israel, said his Government signed its first-ever multi-year cooperation agreement with UNAIDS in April, enhancing its relationship with that important organization. As a low-burden country for HIV, Israel had increased incidence among specific risk groups, namely its 220,000 migrant workers and men who had sex with men. To further its prevention efforts, Israel carried out national research-based AIDS prevention campaigns that emphasized condom-use and testing focused on young people and drug users. Israel also applied harm-reduction methods and ran a nationwide syringe exchange project. That evolving project was expanding to include, not only the syringe exchanges, but also primary medical treatment for participants. Further, a number of universally available free clinics operated in areas with high-risk populations.
Offering suggestions from his country’s experiences to mitigate the greatest impacts of the AIDS pandemic, he stressed that public health infrastructures must be strengthened. Collaboration within and between countries on local, regional and international levels must also be promoted and should include, not just various governmental ministries, but non-governmental organizations as well. Universal access to HIV/AIDS screening was also necessary and should take into account the needs and practices of local cultures. He further noted Israel’s cooperation with other countries, including partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing nations. Among those, he cited Israel’s ongoing partnership with Ethiopia to provide training to doctors, nurses and technicians. Training, he stressed, must explore the feminization of HIV/AIDS to ensure that the specific needs of women and girls were met.