The leading causes of maternal and child death in many developing countries are the lack of quality antenatal care and family planning services, increasing rates of HIV infection and the gap in access to life-saving HIV treatment.
Linking HIV and sexual and reproductive health services in order to reduce vulnerability to HIV, sexually transmitted infections and other sexual and reproductive health issues including reduction in maternal mortality, has long been recognised as a highly efficient and cost effective intervention. The International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Marie Stopes International are now leveraging their extensive experience and service delivery platforms to achieve a comprehensive response. The partnership will work to:
- prevent HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections
- improve the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS, including broadening access to quality, stigma-free family planning and HIV/AIDS treatment
- decrease maternal mortality and reduce unwanted pregnancy.
Michael Holscher, Senior Vice President at Marie Stopes International said: “Through this new partnership between Marie Stopes International and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, we are working towards a shared vision of a world with good sexual and reproductive health, free from HIV and where every birth is wanted.”
“The partnership will promote and advocate for the sexual and reproductive, and HIV-related needs and rights of all people, and integrate HIV and sexual and reproductive health across the policies, programmes and services of both organisations.”
The first phase of the partnership will focus on programmes in Zambia, Uganda and Cambodia.
In Cambodia, Marie Stopes International and Alliance linking organisation KHANA have begun an assessment of the current level of sexual and reproductive health and rights integration in KHANA’s HIV programmes, and how to increase this in the future.
Marie Stopes International has already integrated HIV into its sexual and reproductive health services in many country programmes, including voluntary counselling and testing, activity around the prevention of mother-to-child-transmission, male circumcision and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment.
But the partnership will ensure comprehensive action across all 40 countries Marie Stopes International operates in. In Zambia and Tanzania, thanks to the USAID-funded SIFPO project, the Alliance successfully tested a self-assessment checklist which will be rolled out to all country programmes so they can measure the level of HIV integration in their sexual and reproductive health services, and develop appropriate actions based on the assessment results.
Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance said: “This partnership is being launched at a time when the international community recognises that it needs to accelerate progress on access to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services and make more effective the global response to the HIV epidemic, if we are to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6.”
‘As an HIV organisation working with communities most at risk of HIV, particularly women in Africa, sex workers and among people who use drugs, we see on a daily basis the need for better access to quality sexual reproductive health and family planning services.”
“Community action supported by the Alliance has had real impact on improving access to HIV services. Through this new partnership with MSI, we hope to share that experience to improve access to sexual and reproductive health education and services.”
For more information about the Alliance’s work on sexual and reproductive health, rights and HIV linkages, download this new Good Practice Guide.
To read more about Marie Stopes International’s work in countries most affected by HIV/AIDS visit www.mariestopes.org.
We are working towards a shared vision of a world with good sexual and reproductive health, free from HIV and where every birth is wanted.