All In - End Adolescent AIDS launch!

Apr 27, 2015


WELCOME REMARKS FOR
DR. ARUN KASHYAP
RESIDENT COORDINATOR & UNDP RESIDENT REPRESENTATIVE
“All in to #EndAdolescentAIDS”
Launch of the Adolescent Assessment and Decision Makers Tool
ADOLESCENTS & HIV – UNICEF/UNAIDS MISSION
Don Mills Conference Room, PIOJ
APRIL 27, 2015


Acknowledgements

• Ms. Barbara Scott, DDG, PIOJ;

• Ms Delores Wade, Senior Project Economist, PIOJ;

• Our colleagues from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Youth & Culture, Ministry of Education;

• UNCT Colleagues; UN Team working

• The Mission team from UNICEF HQ; UNICEF Regional Office for LAC; UNICEF in Brazil and UNICEF Haiti; and UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team

• Members of the civil society including Eve For Life and Jamaica Aids Support

• Other Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen

A very Good morning to all of you. On behalf of the United Nations in Jamaica, let me add my welcome to all of you for joining us today to support the launch of a strategy to end the AIDS epidemic among adolescents in Jamaica. Jamaica, as we know is a priority country in the Caribbean to end the AIDS epidemic.

Globally, despite key advances in almost every area of the response to HIV, new HIV infections among adolescents are not declining as quickly as among other age groups. Adolescent girls, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, are most affected. AIDS is now the leading cause of adolescents’ deaths in Africa and the second leading cause of death among adolescents globally. Just one in four children and adolescents under the age of 15 have access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment. Deaths are declining in all age groups, except among 10–19 year olds. In South Africa in 2013, more than 860 girls became infected with HIV every week, compared to 170 boys.

To address this inequity, UNAIDS, UNICEF and partners have launched All In, a new platform for action to drive better results for adolescents by encouraging strategic changes in policy and engaging more young people in the effort.

All In focuses on four key action areas: (i) engaging, mobilizing and empowering adolescents as leaders and actors of social change; (ii) improving data collection to better inform programming; (iii) encouraging innovative approaches to reach adolescents with essential HIV services adapted to their needs; and (iv) placing adolescent HIV firmly on political agendas to spur concrete action and mobilize resources.

The entire UN system is behind this timely and much needed new platform for action. To quote UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, “Children and young people should be the first to benefit from the progress we have made in ending the epidemic, not the last. We need to reach the adolescents we are missing and engage all young people in the effort to end adolescent AIDS. In fact, we cannot achieve the goal of an AIDS-free generation without them.”

And Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS calling the lack of progress to reduce HIV infections among adolescents a moral injustice, calls on young people to lead the All In movement, alongside the United Nations, public and private partners, and countries themselves, to end the adolescent AIDS epidemic.”

I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Health and the National Family Planning Board in committing to undertake a comprehensive assessment of Adolescents and the AIDS Response as it participates in the All in platform.

I welcome the mission to Jamaica of our colleagues from UNICEF and UNAIDS - from the HQ, Regional Office in Panama and country offices in Brazil and Haiti. They represent a diversity of specialists with expertise ranging from the areas of HIV and Adolescents, Health, Statistics and Monitoring, HIV AIDS and PMTCT, Youth and Social Organization, and Rights of Children and Adolescents at the global, regional and national levels. The mission will support the piloting of Adolescents Assessment and Decisions Makers (AADM) tool to strengthen response of National HIV Programmes to meeting the unmet needs of the adolescents.

Mr. Babtunde Osotimehin Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund expressed this prudently when he said, that “We need to meet adolescents where they are and address the challenges they face. UNFPA is All In to protect their human rights and sexual and reproductive health, and prevent and treat HIV.”

I am confident that the findings of the assessment will strategically strengthen the support of national HIV AIDS programmes as they relate to adolescents and especially to adolescent girls and young women particularly vulnerable to HIV infection.

This is very timely initiative for Jamaica and the Jamaicans. We are already seeing the emerging non-partisan support calling on the communities to speak up and the Government to move quickly to deal with the horrific issues of child abuse in the society. Following another incident reporting the murder of a child as allegedly a result of a relationship with an adult, the media is increasingly raising the voice for action. This is also in line with the “Nuh Guh Deh” campaign of Eve for Life, a Jamaican non-governmental organization working with young mothers (most living with HIV and AIDS) that UN Country Team is now an integral part of. It is important for all levels of society to speak out against the sexual abuse of our girls given that CHILDREN are still being targeted for sex by adult men who allegedly believe that unprotected sex with virgins can cure sexually transmitted disease such as HIV/AIDS.

The UN Country Team stands ready to support the implementation of the findings and is committed to working in an integrated manner to ensure that we will leave no stone unturned to end the AIDS epidemic among adolescents in Jamaica by 2030.

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