UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé commended the work of Senegal’s National AIDS Council at a recent meeting with its Executive Secretary, Ibrahim N’Doye. During discussions on Senegal’s AIDS response, Dr N’Doye highlighted how political commitment contributed to the scale-up of HIV services in his country.
Under the leadership of Presidents Abdoulaye Wade and Macky Sall, the government contribution to HIV has increased steadily. The country has also called for greater transparency and initiated a resource tracking exercise with the assistance of UNAIDS aimed at maximizing AIDS investments and impact.
These efforts were recently backed by an audit by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Successful with its application for Phase 2 of an on-going HIV grant, Senegal will receive an additional US$ 33 million for the next three years. The renewed grant, approved by The Global Fund board on 24 September 2012, will contribute to financing the implementation of Senegal’s HIV National Strategic Plan.
According to the Global Fund, Senegal has been a model for the HIV response in the West and Central Africa region with a portfolio of well-performing grants, mobilized in-country partners, and a vibrant civil society. The recent report from the OIG highlighted that overall, results in Senegal were encouragingly positive. The OIG was able to confirm that appropriate oversight arrangements had ensured that all grant funds were properly utilized and produced very good results.
The report from the OIG also provided concrete recommendations to both country partners (Country Coordinating Mechanism and Principal Recipients) as well as the Global Fund Secretariat in order to enhance accountability through a more holistic and integrated approach. These recommendations included the need to strengthen financial management capacity of sub-recipients and the need to improve drug management, distribution and storage.
The country has made major efforts in the past five years to scale-up access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for its population, with a focus on key populations at higher risk. It is one of the few countries in the West and Central Africa region, which has collected robust data on hard to reach populations such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who use drugs.
Scaling up HIV services
The country has scaled up access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) substantially and treatment is now widely available in many parts of Senegal. The number of people receiving ART increased from 5500 in 2006 to 18 352 in 2011. Between 2006 and 2010, the number of sites offering voluntary counselling and testing also increased from 109 to 687 and reach the number of 1023 in 2011. The services to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child were scaled-up from 404 in 2009 to 648 in 2010 and 976 in 2011.
Such combination of efforts is having positive results. According to UNAIDS, HIV prevalence among the general population remains stable at 0.7%, while HIV prevalence among sex workers has decreased from 19.8% in 2006 to 18.5% in 2011 and new HIV infections among youth has decreased.