A new national program on prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), for the period from 2016 to 2020, was adopted by the Republic of Moldova government at its meeting on July 27, 2016.
The new program aims at mitigating the impacts of the epidemic by reducing the spread of HIV and STDs (particularly in the key populations) as well as HIV/AIDS-related deaths. The HIV and STD epidemics remain a major public health concern, high on the national agenda in Moldova.
The approval of the new national program, which was expected to be launched in January 2016, had been delayed up until recently due to a number of factors, such as unstable political situation and frequent cabinet changes over this past year, involving the office of Minister of Health. As direct program beneficiaries and in many cases its implementers, NGOs and communities of people who inject drugs and people living with HIV had made great efforts to prompt the adoption of the Program.
Now that the National Program has been approved, key questions are how it is going to be implemented and how its performance will be measured, including the delivery of services to key populations. One more important question is what tools can be employed to increase NGO involvement in the implementation of non-medical components of these services.
The National Program was developed through an inclusive cross-sector dialogue involving stakeholders from the government, non-governmental organizations and communities of people living with HIV/AIDS, and with the support of donors, WHO and other UN representatives, as well as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
This newly adopted program will be funded by the national budget and the National Health Insurance Company, and with the support of the grant funding provided by the Global Fund.
In addition, Moldova is currently in the process of developing transition plans to shift its HIV prevention and treatment programs from donor funds to domestic funding, which is critical for sustainable program implementation. Despite impediments, Ministry of Health officials reassure that this important process will be now put on fast track. In particular, the national Ad-Hoc Group for sustainability and transition of HIV/AIDS programs held a meeting on July 28 to assess Moldova’s readiness for transition to domestic funding.
The newly approved national program will provide a solid platform to develop the national transition plan and to ensure the sustainability of programs that are currently run with the support from the Global Fund, including harm reduction programs. Moldavian civil society will make every effort to ensure their meaningful participation in the ongoing national processes within the framework of setting priorities and developing the national agenda for public health and AIDS, including budget processes and the National Program implementation and monitoring.