Colombo – Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka
9 December 2014
Colombo – Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka (FPA Sri Lanka) has signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a Sub-Recipient under the Multi-Country South Asia Global Fund HIV
Programme – a regional programme addressing the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people in South Asia. As the Sub-Recipient in Sri Lanka, FPA will focus on strengthening community systems to improve coordination with local governments and health care providers, deliver concentrated and quality capacity development support, and provide technical assistance to ensure high intervention impact and sustainability. The National STD & AIDS Control Programme (PR1) and FPA Sri Lanka (PR2) are also Principal Recipients under the national Global Fund programme.
The multi-country Programme covers eight countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – and is funded through a $16.7 million multi-year (2013-2015) grant from the Global Fund. UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub serves as the grant’s Principal Recipient. UNAIDS Sri Lanka is providing technical support through the UN Country Team.
“We are seeing a gradual increasing trend of HIV infections in Sri Lanka, as well as increases in infections among young people,“ said Sudharma Karunaratne, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Chair of the Sri Lanka Country Coordinating Mechanism. “There is a clear need for greater efforts to reverse this trend. Through coordination with the national AIDS response, this regional grant comes at a critical moment in the HIV response in Sri Lanka.”
Despite the gradually increasing prevalence among key populations, Sri Lanka is considered a low HIV prevalence country. However, there are real concerns that hidden epidemics may be present in certain higher risk groups, especially men who have sex with men and transgender people.
In countries throughout the South Asia region, men who have sex with men and transgender people are known to have significantly higher HIV rates than those in other adult groups. High social stigma and punitive laws that criminalize same-sex sexual behaviour in Sri Lanka create barriers to access to health care for these populations, and make it difficult for health workers and organizations to reach them with HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programming. In these circumstances, community-based organizations are best placed to engage with and respond to the specific needs of their communities.
“The role of the community is vitally important“, said Madusha Dissanayake, Director of Advocacy and HIV/AIDS, FPA Sri Lanka. “As such, under this regional grant with the support of the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub and the Global Fund we are specifically concentrating on making community organizations more resilient and better able to take a leading role in the HIV response.”
Under the grant, FPA Sri Lanka will work to strengthen existing community-based organizations in the country working on issues of sexual health and human rights for MSM and transgender people through a range of capacity building activities aimed at ensuring future sustainability and their important contribution to the national HIV programme efforts. Furthermore, FPA Sri Lanka will work with national partners and community groups to strengthen an enabling policy and legal environment in society.
“This regional HIV Programme is ensuring that a crucially important segment of the population – the MSM and transgender community – are actively involved in the response in Sri Lanka“, said Edmund Settle, Policy Advisor, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub. “UNDP is keen to continue working together with our community, government and UN partners to promote and protect the rights of these marginalized populations in Sri Lanka and throughout the South Asia region.”
Madusha Dissanayake, Director Advocacy & HIV/AIDS, Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka:firstname.lastname@example.org| +94112555455
Ian Mungall, Knowledge Management and Strategic Information Officer, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub:email@example.com | +66909710908
Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka
Multi-Country South Asia Global Fund HIV Programme