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Unicef calls for fresh approach to stop new HIV infections

Staff Reporter

MASERU — The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) on Wednesday called for a fresh approach to stem the tide of new HIV infections in Lesotho.

Speaking at the end of his two-day official visit to Lesotho, East and Southern Africa Unicef regional director, Dr As Sy, said despite huge strides that Lesotho has made the country still needed to step up the fight to prevent new infections among the youths.

“Every day 60 people in Lesotho contract HIV and this is threatening the gains made in response to the epidemic,” Sy said.

“Swift and decisive action from both government and development partners to prioritise comprehensive prevention should pave way to a true leadership agenda for HIV prevention.”

Lesotho has a huge HIV and Aids burden characterised by the third highest HIV prevalence rate in the world which stands at 23 percent.

One in every four children is an orphan while life expectancy has declined from 59 years in the 1990s to the current 41 years.

But the government of Lesotho in conjunction with its partners such as Unicef is fighting to reverse the trend.

Sy said Lesotho must renew focus and political commitment on prevention of HIV/Aids.

It must also ensure prevention interventions are informed by the latest local epidemiological and behavioural data to reach where there is the greatest need.

He also called for the mobilsation of appropriate resources for prevention and efficient and effective use of available resources.

 “We at Unicef believe that a robust HIV prevention strategy is driven by collective effort. Through leadership, commitment, resources, innovation and creativity, the government, UN, civil society, the international and local communities can indeed turn the tide in Lesotho and we stand ready to accompany their efforts,” he said.

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