HIV project in Lao PDR wins award for South-South Cooperation

 Dr. Praphan Phanuphak of the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre presents the Lao-TACHIN initiative at the 2011 Global South-South Development Expo. ©FAO/ALESSANDRA BENEDETTI

 A WFP-supported project to provide better HIV treatment and care in Lao PDR has received an award in recognition of excellent South-South Cooperation.

 In Lao PDR, WFP has formed an award-winning alliance of government, non-profit and private sector actors to improve the nutrition and treatment of people living with HIV. Literally.

The Lao-Thai-Australia Collaboration in HIV Nutrition (Lao-TACHIN) received one of two South-South Cooperation Awards for Partnership in appreciation of its excellent display of collaboration among the involved partners. The award was presented at the 2011 Global South-South Development Expo.
 
With technical support from WFP, Lao-TACHIN successfully reached its goal to improve the health and quality of life of people living with HIV in Champasak Province, Lao PDR, including by training health care staff and providing nutrition education for people living with HIV. From July 2009 to June 2011, 184 people living with HIV benefited from nutritional assessments and counselling in Champasak Province; in 2012, with the expansion of the project into Savannakhet Province, Lao-TACHIN aims to provide these services for another 150 people.
 
“The Lao-TACHIN Collaboration raised awareness about the importance of nutrition support in comprehensive HIV treatment,” said Dr. Praphan Phanuphak of the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre. “More important, we improved the capacity of health institutions and staff to provide quality care to people living with HIV.”
 
Building off the success of an earlier project in Thailand, Lao-TACHIN took a South-South approach to promoting good nutrition for people living with HIV, which enabled extensive sharing of knowledge and resources. It brought together the experience of WFP, the Thai Red Cross, the Ablion Street Centre (Australia), Mahidol University (Bangkok), the Australian Agency for International Development, the Lao Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.
 
“HIV is a multi-dimensional problem, and its impacts reach far beyond the health of infected people,” said Martin Bloem, WFP’s chief of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Policy.  “The right nutrition support can increase the survival of people on HIV treatment, which has positive impacts for families, households and economies.”
 
This year’s Expo focused on the importance of food insecurity within South-South collaboration. WFP presented two other HIV-related South-South solutions this week in addition to Lao-TACHIN: the successful integration of food and nutrition support into HIV treatment and care in Honduras, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic; and the SPLASH e-vouchers programme in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, which allows beneficiaries to more easily and efficiently receive WFP food assistance.