Launching of the National Strategic Plan and Monitoring & Evaluation Framework for HIV and AIDS and viral Hepatitis 2019-2023

The National AIDS Council launched the third multi-sectorial National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (NSP) for Seychelles on Friday 17th May 2019 at 2.30 p.m. at the Savoy Hotel. The 2019-2023 NSP has accepted the challenges of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030, through achieving the 90-90-90 treatment targets by 2020: 90 % of people living with HIV know their status, 90% who know their status are on treatment, and 90 % of those on treatment are virally suppressed.

As HIV control is one of the priority national development programmes, the NSP carries the ethos of constitutional provision to guarantee access to basic health services as a fundamental right of every citizen.  It is also a set of evidence-informed strategies focused on building one consolidated, unified, rights-based and decentralised HIV programme with services that are integrated in the general health services of the country.

It builds on lessons learned from implementation of the NSP 2012-2016, its end-term review, the National Health Strategic Plan 2016–2020, the Integrated Behavioral and Biological Survey (IBBS) for Heroin Users, consultation on the key strategic priorities and other strategic information from studies, surveys and assessments.

The development of Seychelles’ 2019-2023 NSP was initiated in 2016. The process included the End-of-Term Review in 2017 of the NSP 2012-2016, review of reports and other information, and extensive consultations with key government and non-governmental experts and representatives. These took place through workshops, technical working groups, forums etc. to identify challenges, gaps and needs for capacity building and financial inputs; and to discuss/make recommendations on improving the HIV response across the country. Consultations were held in 2017 and 2018 with key partners, Ministry of Health (MOH), National AIDS Council (NAC), line ministries and agencies (Employment, APDAR), civil society organisations, networks for key populations and implementers to discuss the HIV strategic issues and challenges and identify the key priorities for the 2019-2023 response.

The first of two broad-based stakeholder workshop focused on identifying the strategic imperatives for the NSP whilst several mini consultative workshops reviewed and informed the development of the results and strategic interventions.  The final workshop was held at the ICCS on 26th March 2018 to validate the contributions made from the workshops and the consultations conducted in the intervening period.

Strategic priorities established were to:

  • identify and reach key populations with a combination of initiatives to prevent HIV;
  • recommend and offer HIV ‘Test and Treat’ services, and retain people living with HIV in treatment;
  • enhance critical programme and critical social enablers;
  • establish functional public-civil society-private partnerships in the prevention-treatment continuum; and
  • focus on innovative, well-coordinated and integrated services towards primary HIV prevention.

Key populations remain the main focus of the NSP. These include male and female sex workers, clients of sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and people in prisons.  In addition, all pregnant women are the focus of the NSP for elimination of vertical transmission (From mother to child) and young people as given special priority as a vulnerable group.

The NSP has 5 Goals, 7 Outcomes and 21 Strategic Priorities.