Philippines, UNPFA Launch $2M Program To Address HIV/AIDS Among Migrant Workers
Filipino Health Secretary Francisco Duque and United Nations Population Fund representative Sunseta Mukherjie on Wednesday signed a letter of understanding on a $2 million program that aims to address HIV/AIDS among overseas Filipino workers, Balita.org reports. The program, which will be led by the Filipino Department of Health and Department of Labor and Employment, aims to provide overseas workers and the general community with access to HIV prevention and treatment services through national and local interventions in selected Filipino provinces. The program's two components are to increase access to community-based HIV/AIDS interventions among overseas workers and bolster capacities and partnerships on HIV/AIDS and migration, according to Balita.org. The program's first component, which will be led by the health department, will target individuals and communities to increase knowledge about HIV/AIDS and develop skills to prevent transmission, as well as to eliminate stigma and discrimination. The labor and employment department will lead the second component, which will focus on intensifying national and local coordination to scale up and sustain HIV and migration programs. According Duque, overseas workers contribute to the Philippines' economic stability, but the country's response to HIV/AIDS among the group is limited. The health department in May 2006 began providing HIV-positive people with access to no-cost antiretrovirals, according to Balita.org (Balita.org, 3/28). According to Agence France Presse, 241 HIV-positive people in the country have access to the antiretrovirals. Duque said the number is expected to increase as more HIV-positive people register with the government. About 35% of documented HIV cases in the country are among overseas workers, and 42% of new HIV cases recorded in 2006 were among the group, according to health department data. According to government estimates, there were 11,200 HIV-positive people in the country as of December 2005, Agence France Presse reports (Agence France Presse, 3/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.