Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Code blue for global health

Given the technological advances in the field of medicine, the possibilities for a healthy population are endless. However, given the current scenario, all these would remain just that – possibilities.

Communicable diseases
The prevalence of communicable diseases is a key social determinant as its occurrence is often concentrated in poor countries where sanitation, access to health care facilities, and nutrition are often problematic.

Tuberculosis, for example, remains to be a public health concern in most developing nations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1/3 of the world’s population is infected with TB bacillus. In 2004, the Southeast Asian region recorded the highest number of new cases, accounting for 33 percent of recorded cases. The sub-Sahara African region, meanwhile, had the highest per capita incidence estimated at 400 cases per 100,000 population.

WHO also put to 1.7 million the number of deaths caused by TB. While highlighting the need for a comprehensive TB program, the report also put a positive spin on the control of the disease. It noted that in five out of six WHO regions, TB incidences were either stable or falling. The exception was sub-Saharan South Africa where the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS contributes to the growing number of TB cases.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

National Consultation on the HIV M&E System Conducted

As part of Strengthening the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System of the Philippine AIDS Response, PNAC, HAIN, and HDII organized the National Consultation (NatCon) on the HIV M&E System last December 4-5, 2006 at the Pearl Manila Hotel, Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines.

The objectives of the NatCon were:
1. To share experiences and insights on the implementation of the M&E System.
2. To review and develop recommendations to improve the current M&E System.
3. To develop a plan of action on the implementation of the National and Local M&E Systems

A total of 66 participants coming from 9 Local AIDS Council pilot sites, PNAC, government agencies, non-government agencies, and development partners attended the NatCon.

The project Strengthening the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) System of the Philippine HIV/AIDS Response has completed a series of consultations and trainings with non-government organizations (NGOs) and Local AIDS Councils (LACs) in institutionalizing Monitoring and Evaluation in the country. Through this project, and with the active participation of selected sites, we were able to pilot test the system. The response from the pilot sites has been very positive and supportive to make this project work in contributing to the country's overall goal to prevent the further spread of HIV infection and to reduce the impact of the disease on individuals, families, and communities.

After the NGOs, LACs and National Agencies have reported their data to the PNAC M&E Unit, the data were collated, analyzed and presented to the NatCon . The NatCon brought together all pilot sites from different regions to share their learnings and experiences in institutionalizing M&E System at the local level. It was also the time to reflect and examine which will work best in institutionalizing M&E System and how to move M&E forward.

The National Consultation
In behalf of Dr. Jean Marc Olive, Chair of UN Theme Group, Dr. R. Velayudhan of WHO gave the welcome remarks. Mr. Zimmbodilion Mosende, UNAIDS M&E Adviser set the NatCon at the global context and on the other hand, Dr. Ferchito Avelino, Director of PNAC Secretariat, at the local context. Ms. Noemi Bayoneta-Leis presented the milestones of the M&E country efforts.

Highlighting the two-day event was the "Data Presentation: Summary of Data Submitted by Pilot Sites." Dr. Jessie Fantone, PNAC M&E Officer, compared the data committed by each site and the actual data received.

Another highlight was the session on the "Reflections on the M&E System." Participants were grouped according to the following LACs, NGOs, and GOs. Development partners (i.e., UN Agencies and Donor community) immersed with the groups to listen and observe on the exchange of insights of the pilot sites. This exercise allowed the pilot sites to review and share their experiences on the whole process of establishing of M&E System. This was also the venue for them to hear about other sites' experiences and views. Recommendations were gathered as well on how to move the M&E forward.

The session on "Data Appreciation: The Cebu Experience" by Dr. Ofelia Saniel of the Asia-Pacific M&E Reference Group (AP-MERG) and Dr. Ilya Abellanosa-Tac-an of Cebu City enlighten more the participants, especially the pilot sites, on the making M&E work for advocacy, program planning, resource mobilization and to achieve the overall vision of Philippine AIDS Response.Equally important was the session on Planning. Results of the planning session will help in developing national M&E plan and in strengthening local M&E efforts.

To know more about HIV M&E System, check www.hain.org/me. For updates on M&E in the Philippines, check the http://www.hivmephilippines.blogspot.com.

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