U.S. & PNG participate in successful HIV and AIDS Program Review meeting in Bangkok

Joint efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS will continue between the U.S. Embassy’s health teams – Center for Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. Agency for International Aid (USAID), and their Papua New Guinean partners at the National Department of Health and in the international community within Papua New Guinea.

This follows a three-day Country Operational Plan (COP) review meeting for the 2018-2019 U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) held in Bangkok, Thailand February 28-March 3.

The COP Review meeting hosted global HIV health experts from the United States, who reviewed and approved the COP action plans that contained specific HIV program activities for each country respectively.

“Thanks to thoughtful planning and program development by experts at NDOH and the U.S. Embassy, global experts have endorsed PNG plans to roll out increasingly progressive HIV treatment services,” said U.S. Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray.

The CDC’s Dr. Poruan Temu and Dr. Kevin Soli, and Dr. Jorge Velasco from USAID presented on behalf of the PNG-based team. Their presentation included supporting the National Department of Health’s efforts to roll out HIV testing; developing site-level strategies to address gender-based violence and key populations, and supporting improved data collection and usage at national and provincial levels.

Their presentation was well received by U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, who asked the PNG partners to share their experiences of the COP processes.

“PNG is proactive in the process. We can share the significance of our participation and how being a part of this meeting is helping all of us to better understand the COP PEPFAR processes,” said Munir Ahmed, Principal Recipient Program Manager for Oil Search Foundation.

He added it has provided them an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with the PNG- based CDC and USAID teams in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“The COP has been developed through a multi-sectoral consultation and now we have a clear understanding of who will be doing what in PNG during the next 2 to 3 years. This will surely enhance better coordination of work between partners which will ultimately improve sustainability of the work of stakeholders in PNG,” Mr. Ahmed added.

Other PNG partners at the meeting were WHO, UNAIDS, National Department of Health and Civil Society Organisations. China, Laos, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, India and Indonesia were the other countries participating in the planning conference.