News

UNFPA Organizes First Ever Training on HIV and Opportunistic Infections for Health Personnel in Oé-cusse

13 May 2019
The training was opened by Mr. Ronny Lindstrom; the UNFPA Timor-Leste Country Representative, Dr. Sheena Viegas, the head of the HIV/AIDS Unit of the Ministry of Health (MoH), and the Vice President of the RAEOA/ZEESM Mr. Arsenio Bano. Photo and text by Roderick T.J. Buiskool and Sergio Esperança | UNFPA Timor-Leste.

Pante Macassar, Special Administrative Region of Oé-cusse Ambeno (RAEOA), Timor-Leste- Until Friday the 17th of May 2019, the 23 health workers from different health posts, community health centers and the referral hospital of Pante Makassar, Special Administrative Region of Oé-cusse Ambeno (RAEOA), will cover pertinent topics such as HIV Testing and routes of transmission, opportunistic infections, PrEP and PEP, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, and stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV. Towards the end of the training, UNFPA’s implementing partner NGO Estrela+, will present the results of the recently launched HIV Stigma Index Report.

The 5 day training on HIV and Opportunistic Infections for Health Personnel of RAEOA was organized by the RAEOA regional health secretary and the UNFPA Timor-Leste HIV program, and was fully funded by UNFPA Timor-Leste.

In September 2018, different heads of programme from UNFPA Timor-Leste came to RAEOA on a scoping mission to provide support to the health sector, especially for planning interventions to improve the maternal and sexual reproductive health of the region. One of the main findings during the scoping mission was that the knowledge of HIV management among health personnel was very low. Additionally, the RAEOA and the rest of Timor-Leste has very low rates of comprehensive knowledge of HIV. Moreover, testing rates are also very low (only 4% of the total population of Timor-Leste has ever been tested for HIV). When coupled with high rates of STIs, it has the potential of becoming a serious obstacle when it comes to preventing and controlling HIV infection. 

The training was opened by Mr. Ronny Lindstrom; the UNFPA Timor-Leste Country Representative, Dr. Sheena Viegas, the head of the HIV/AIDS Unit of the Ministry of Health (MoH), and the vice president of the RAEOA/ZEESM Mr. Arsenio Bano.  

“It is a very comprehensive and ambitious agenda that we hope will contribute to increase the knowledge of the diagnosis and treatment of HIV, and be translated in an even better HIV case management in the region”, said Mr. Ronny Lindstrom in his opening speech.

Medical doctors, nurses, and midwives play a crucial role in the community. Not only do they treat people, they also have an educational role.

UNFPA Timor-Leste will continue to work with the government of Timor-Leste, and relevant development partners to ensure that people in Timor-Leste can access judgment free HIV testing, treatment, care, and support. Equally important is that people living with HIV stay on treatment from the very moment they are found to be positive.

These are crucial steps in order to achieve the ambitious target of having 90% of all people living with HIV aware of their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy on viral suppression.

“It will take time, it will involve doctors and other health professionals, families, and the community as a whole’, said Mr. Arsenio Bano before officially opening the training.

UNFPA Timor-Leste would like to thank facilitators from the MoH, Oé-cusse referral hospital, Hospital Nacional Guido Valadares (HNGV), National Laboratory, NGO Estrela +, and NGO Maluk Timor. 

 

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UNFPA is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA reaches millions of women and young people in 155 countries and territories, including Timor-Leste.