Quezon City and UNAIDS to scale up efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030
The Quezon City Government and UNAIDS Philippines Country Office signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 25 May, which aims to accelerate and expand the city’s response to HIV and end its AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Guided by the 2011 United Nations General Assembly Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) “Cities getting to zero” initiative, the MoU promotes fast-tracking locally relevant and led strategies with the aim of rapidly reducing new HIV infections, ending AIDS-related deaths and curbing stigma and discrimination in Quezon City.
The on-line and mobile-based platform QC iReport was launched at the signing and it will provide city health officials with real time information on HIV services, enabling health facilities to deliver quality services that respond to the needs of key populations at higher risk of HIV, including people living with HIV and their families.
In January 2014, Quezon City became the first local government in the Philippines to open a clinic, catering to the sexual health needs of men who have sex with men. The facility is called Klinika Bernardo, but is often referred to as the Sundown Clinic as it is open from 3pm to 11 pm. The city received its sixth Galing Pook Award in 2014 for the pioneering health clinic.
“The establishment of Klinika Bernardo is an innovative strategy in providing health services based on what key populations need. This can be easily duplicated in other local government units with similar HIV situations. We want to see more of this (KB) in other cities. As we continue to improve our client centered services in all local health facilities, the QC iReport will help us use technology as a platform for a feedback mechanism, and this is another innovative strategy by our city,” said Honourable Herbert Bautista, Mayor of Quezon City.
“Quezon City continues to be a transformative force in ending the AIDS epidemic in the country, inspiring other cities to strengthen their AIDS response and leave no constituency behind”, said UNAIDS Country Director, Teresita Bagasao. “This agreement supports the momentum to fast track the HIV response in the city through innovation, stronger collaboration with partners and accountability to demonstrate outcomes.”
The Philippines is one of a few countries in Asia and the Pacific where new HIV infections are rising. The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) reports that most of the new infections are in large urban areas.
Quezon City is the country’s most populous city and the Department of Health has been classified it as one of 36 priority areas for accelerated HIV interventions. It has become a model for other cities on how to implement programmes prioritizing HIV treatment and prevention