National AIDS Council has launched a five year civil society engagement and national community led monitoring strategic plan.
National AIDS Council Director General, Connie Osborne, said the two documented strategic plans will help to foster constructive engagement between civil society organisations and the government as well as other stakeholders at national and international level in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in Zambia.
Ms. Osborne, officiated at the launch virtually, explained that the strategic plan will offer an opportunity for all civil society organisations who are engaged in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to align community action and resources for greater long term impact.
“The civil society organisation strategy is aimed at establishing a framework for empowering civil society organisations in ensuring that there is meaningful engagement with government and other stakeholders for effective response and accountability in health governance,’’ she said.
Ms. Osborne noted that the national community led monitoring strategy is aimed at improving health service delivery at local health facilities at community level through transparency and accountability.
“The national community led monitoring strategy is important because it will give an opportunity to the community to voice their concerns and issues that affect their health right through community action engagement,’’ she explained.
And Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), Executive Director, Karen Sichinga said resources are becoming highly constrained because of competing global priorities.
Ms. Sichinga said in a speech read on her behalf by CHAZ Head for Advocacy, Planning and Development, Yorum Siame, that the two strategies will help civil society organisations in development, growth and interaction in order to increase the impact in HIV, TB and malaria programming.
She also said community led monitoring will allow communities to gather, analyse and use information to improve access, quality and the impact of services and to hold service providers and decision makers accountable.
‘’Funding for the development of these two documents was channeled through CHAZ from Global Fund. CHAZ pledges to continue ensuring that resources meant for civil society reach them and are utilised for the intended purpose,’’ Ms. Sichinga disclosed.
Meanwhile, Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC) Secretary, Fred Chungu, said increased community participation and engagement in the decision-making process and in the actual planning, implementation and sustainability interventions will help to sustain the gains that the country has made in the control of HIV, TB and malaria epidemics.
Mr. Chungu said through stakeholders’ engagement at all levels the fight against HIV, TB and malaria will accelerate prevention and elimination programmes of the three diseases.
‘’There is a need to ensure that programmes reach the unreached and address barriers that hinder uptake and use of services in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria,” he said.