WHO supports the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the development of its National strategy for HIV/AIDS 2017–2021

Vlatko Dekov

As part of its biennial collaborative agreement for 2016–2017, WHO/Europe is supporting the Ministry of Health of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the process of developing its National strategy for HIV/AIDS 2017–2021.

The first consultative workshop to develop the strategy and its action plan took place in Mavrovo on 6–8 March 2017. The multisectoral group of participants included 30 representatives from various health and other governmental and nongovernmental institutions and international organizations, including: the Clinic for Infectious Diseases; the Clinic for Psychiatry; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies; the National Institute for Public Health; the Public Health Centre in Skopje; the United Nations Population Fund; and civil society organizations such as Doverba, Equality for Gays and Lesbians (EGAL), the Health Education and Research Association (HERA), Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS) and Stronger Together.

The workshop set the framework for the strategy and action plan, which will address all aspects of HIV/AIDS and provide a focused response to the country’s health system. It allowed participants to define actions that will integrate all sectors in policy-making and the responses associated with HIV, and provided an opportunity to streamline them with the Sustainable Development Goals. The focus of the strategy is on populations most at risk and youth.

The workshop also ensured an inclusive process for finalizing the strategy and action plan by creating synergies among relevant institutions and sectors. Through group discussions, national experts defined actions, responsibilities and a monitoring framework, and agreed on next steps. It is expected that the strategy and action plan will be finalized by the end of May 2017.

About the strategy and action plan

The draft strategy and action plan were developed on the basis of the WHO country assessment of the HIV/AIDS programme, implemented through a grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and undertaken with WHO/Europe's support in October 2015. They will be aligned with the National Health 2020 Strategy, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Action plan for the health sector response to HIV in the WHO European Region.