USAID-Family Focused HIV Prevention, Care and Treatment Services Launching workshop Amhara Development Association (ADA) By Kassa Tiruneh (Ph.D)
Introduction USAID-Family focused HIV prevention, care and treatment services is a three years PEPFAR funded activity through USAID and implemented by Amhara Development Association (ADA). The program focusses on new HIV case identification among OVC and linking new HIV diagnosed individuals to ART, thereby reducing the pediatric and adolescent treatment gap, improving access to viral load testing and viral load suppression among enrolled beneficiaries. It also supportsto provide training to 9-14 years old boys and girls on primary prevention activities; sexual violence prevention and prevention of HIV risks. The objectives and interventions are designed to strengthen local HIV epidemic control and to contribute to the attainment of the 95-95-95 goal. The project is designed to achieve the broad objective of increased access and demand to family focused HIV services that reduced HIV incidence in the community and strengthen utilization of data to monitor service delivery and conduct qualityimprovement activities. With this context, ADA hadorganizedand conducted a half day launching workshop on the USAID-Family Focused HIV prevention, care and treatment services in the region to promote the project goal, objectives, activities, and implementation modalities to concerned regional stakeholders. Objectives of the Workshop The workshop was organized to officially introduce the new USAID-Family focus HIV preventioncare and treatment services implemented by ADA in Amhara region Specific objectives • To introduce to concerned stakeholders, theproject goal, objectives, activities, targets, and implementation modalities. • To ensure engagement of stakeholders • To delineate roles and responsibilities of relevant regional stakeholders Key outcomes • Program launching workshop conducted • Relevant regional stakeholders identified • Stakeholderscommitted and ensured their engagement in the implementation of the project activities Participants: • Regional state president, HEAtoAgegnewTeshager, andthe regional state vice president, H/E Dr.MuluneshAbebe, • Regional health Bureau: Deputy head, Disease prevention and health promotion Director, Plan, Monitoring and evaluation director, HIV-MSR process staffs, HIV Case team staffs, CDC Amhara region project coordinator • BOFFEC, head, D/head and NGO coordination unit directors • Bureau of women, children and Youth Affairs • Amhara public health institute • Amhara Development Associations management board members • Amhara Development Associations – CEO, D/CEOs, Directors, Zonal coordinators, • Project hope regional office • ICAP-Ethiopia regional office (invited but not attended) • PSI, Regional office (invited but not attended) • EPSA • NAPHAD, Amhara • Amhara mass media agency • Representative of Universities • Bureau of Education • Regional cabinet memebers • Women’s association • Youth association • PLHIV Association representative, Bahir Dar • The project’s local implementing partners (LIPs)Executive Directors. • Project staffs Key Messages delivered during theworkshop USAID family focused HIV prevention Care and treatment services in Amhara region was launched on December 31, 2020. The event was attended by about 100participants. Introduction of the project, well coming and key messages delivered by the project’s Chief of party, Dr Kassa Tiruneh, and the Amhara Development Association Chief Executive Officer, Mr. MelakuFentarespectively. Following this, an opening remark conducted by theAmhara region State president HE Mr. AgegnewTeshager Dr. Kassa Tiruneh, Chief of party for the USAID Family focus HIV prevention Care and treatment services in Amhara region, in his introduction said “ADA has delight in a long and fruitful partnership with USAID, the Government of Amhara region, and other development partners to improve the health and over all wellbeing of the people of Amhara, and that the new project will be an opportunity for all stakeholders to work together to make sure people with HIV get the care they need and eventually bring an end to HIV epidemic”. He also highlighted that the “USAID- Family focused HIV prevention Care and treatment services is a three-years project funded by PEPFAR through USAID, and implemented by Amhara Development association jointly with 8 sub granted local implementing partners including ADA. The aim of the project is to expand access to comprehensive HIV prevention, care and treatment services by reinforcing the role of health extension workers and communities in the delivery of comprehensive community HIV prevention, care and treatment services. The objective and interventions are designed to impact the 95-95-95 goals and address Ethiopia’s challenges associated with delivering community-based HIV care and treatment services.The Community HIV Care and Treatment Project will provide a variety of services in more than 33 priority districts with a high prevalence of HIV through high impact community-based HIV/AIDS interventions”. In his keynote address on the launching event, the CEO of Amhara Development Association Mr. MelakuFenta,thanked USAID for awarding this project, and expressed his sincere appreciations to participants to be here to attend the event, and to ensure their commitment to support the project. In addition, he expressed his feelings on the importance of jointly implementing the project with regional stakeholders and very strong local partners; and is confident the program will achieve the desired results by building strong relationships with stakeholders and partners and strengthening the capacity of government authorities and community-based organizations. The CEO also expressed his happiness for the opportunity to work in collaboration with local implementing partners by providing sub award from the total three years’ award of 10.8 million USD received from USAID for the project implementation, and note them to jointly work hard to achieve the envisioned targets. HE Mr.AgegnewTeshager, Amhara region state president in his opening remarks, said that “the region has made significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS but still needs new and innovative approaches to mitigate HIV epidemic in the region as well as the country”. He also remarked, "This new project will strengthen capacity for the government of Amhararegion in the fight against HIV and AIDS by using innovative community-based approach”. Finally,he thanked USAID for giving this opportunity to Amhara region, and particularly for awarding the grant to ADA, and confirmed that the regional government is fully committed and willing to support the project for the successful achievement of the intended goal. Overview of the project presented by Dr.AntenehWuhabie, the project’s HIV service director. He briefly explained background of the Amhara Development Association (ADA), vision, mission, and the experiences of ADA in project implementation. He also addressed the national and Regional HIV burden, and the HIV epidemic control efforts so far. DrAnteneh also describes the project duration, budget awarded, and implementing partners and the reason why ADA received the prime implementer role, and about the need to integrate the OVC and Care and treatment services together. He briefly presented the goal, objective and activities of the project; major program intervention areas, target populations to be addressed by theproject, geographic coverage, management structure of the project, startup activities and way forward. Following the presentation, participant’sdiscussion and the way forward session facilitated and led by Mr. MelakuFenta(ADA-CEO) and Dr. Kassa Tiruneh (Project Chief of Party). During the discussion, participantsshared different opinions, comments, suggestions and finally expressed their commitment to support to improve the performance of the project. The Amhara RHB Deputy head, Mr. Tariku Belachew appreciated USAID’s interest to provide thisfunding to ADA in particular, and to Amhara region in general during such time where donor funding is getting decreasing. Then, heofficially confirmed the RHB’scommitment to support and collaborate with ADA, and closely followthe implementation of the project activities. Reflectionsforwarded by the Chief of Party for comments and issues raised by participants. Finally, Mr. MelakuFenta (ADA-CEO added briefings on remaining issues raised by participants; then thanked USAID, the regional Government, all participants, and gave wrap up, conclusion and closing remarks on the half day project launching workshop.