The World Health Organisation (WHO) will table new midterm review Global Health Sector Strategies targets for 2025 for HIV, viral Hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The goal of the midterm review goals is to have a midpoint in the WHO new global health sector strategies that will lead to the targets for the period 2022-2030 according to a presentation made at the 11th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science 2021 on 18th July.
The presenters at the 2021 IAS Conference panel agreed that the 2025 targets are the next major milestone to help reflect on progress towards the 2030 goals since each of the strategies are at different stages, presents different challenges for each disease area and will present course corrections to the strategies in 2026.
Existing Global Health Sector Strategies on HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections 2016-2021 end this year and new strategies are needed to bridge the gap between 2021 and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
“Building in a midterm review to assess progress against the targets is so important, so that we can be flexible and also ensure ongoing alignment with the post 2026 multi sectoral global strategy, and then the next phase strategy,” said Meg Doherty, the Coordinator of Treatment and Care in the Department of HIV/AIDS at the WHO in Geneva at the IAS on Sunday.
“The goal of those targets is to have a midpoint in our new global health sector strategies that will take us to 2030. And we’ll look midway to see if we need to course correct. What does success look like? What are the service system gaps, where are the targets focused on? Can we re-address the focus? Are we aligned to reaching the SDG goals? And can we measure the targets?”
The three diseases – HIV, viral Hepatitis and HIV togather cause 2.3 million deaths per year and there are 1 million new STI infections every day worldwide with more than 350,000 adverse birth outcomes including 200,000 stillbirths and newborn STI-related deaths occurring annually.
She said the midterm review will enable them to identify the gaps, where they need to do more work.
Not at pace to reach the targets:
Doherty during her presentation said we are not at pace at all and recommended using a person-centered approach. “Just to note, these (HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs) are the areas where we’re looking for targets some of them have like HIV- we are able to use the targets that are well established under the UNAIDS and the Global AIDS strategy.”
For instance, the 2025 new UNAIDS targets shows where children or men are lagging behind or which region may be falling behind, or the countries that have challenges with either ensuring that all the strategies are being implemented or that the prices for the drugs and the coverage is reaching everyone in need.
“In terms of systems, we need to know that we’re also looking at populations that we have core tracers that are all developed within the service coverage indicators, and that we’re developing specific cascades for viral hepatitis and STI,” said Daherty and added that more data is required to measure what is happening. “All we can measure right now is whether or not policies are being taken up in countries.”
Shannon Hader, the deputy executive director of Programme at UNAIDS and assistant secretary general at the United Nations said we shall not attain Sustainable Development Goals 3 (which aspires to ensure health and well-being for all, including a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030) if we do not if we do not combat and really get on top of the HIV response.
She said if we fail to achieve all of the societal enablers by 2025, we actually will not achieve our impact targets, will have an additional 2.5 million HIV infections and have an additional 1.7 million deaths than if we only achieve the service targets alone.
“Societal enabler targets matter to the health sector strategy and I hope everybody who’s here, whether you’re a provider, or a community member, or a decision member… I want everybody to know that societal enablers matter to the health response.”
UNAIDS Societal enablers, 10–10–10 targets for removing social and legal impediments towards an enabling environment limiting access or utilization of HIV services by 2025 -less than 10% of countries have unsupportive legal environments for people living with and affected by HIV, less than 10% of people living with HIV and key populations experience stigma and discrimination, less than 10% of people are subject to gender inequality and violence.
She recommended ‘Community led organisations’ as a core part of service delivery and systems for health. “We are also huge supporters of community based services and community health workers. But community led services are something in addition to that -community LED is buying people affected for people affected. And as we make progress, unpacking what this means and why it matters, we’ve actually gotten more specific commitments in this political declaration than we had in 2016.”
“Frankly, for other services that might be different but key population services are probably going to need to be community led if you really want to reach the people most affected in ways they want to be reached by people they know,” said Hader.
“I consider the time is now to establish a timeframe towards ending HIV and the key criteria required to guide our strategic thinking,” said Prasada Rao the Special Advisor to UNAIDS.
Dahety called for more comments on the draft online report that has been uploaded that updates on the progress towards targets goals in strategy from 2016 to 2021 for HIV, viral hepatitis and STIs.