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Maldives – Factfile


Overview

Maldives is home to 3.14 million populations and Health is a fundamental right ensured in the Constitution of the Maldives. This country of Islands comprises around 1,200 islands, of which 200 are inhabited. This geographical limitation makes it difficult to effectively reach targeted populations with HIV interventions such as HIV education, condom promotion and distribution, sexually transmitted infections management and treatment, among others.

The estimated total number of people living with HIV in the Maldives has remained at less than 100 since 2001, when HIV screening was initiated [2]. HIV prevalence has remained at less than 0.1% in the general population of adults aged 15-49 [2]. As of 2007, 14 HIV cases ad 10 AIDS deaths had been reported [3].

The first Biological and Behavioural Survey (BBS) conducted in 2008 revealed the occurrence of high risk behaviours among key affected populations, which include unprotected sex with steady/permanent and non-regular partners, buying and selling sex, and injecting drug use as well as the use of non-sterile injecting equipment.

The vulnerability factors in Maldives include: geographical barrier that prevents access to HIV prevention interventions by targeted populations thus contributing to their low HIV knowledge; the high flow of foreign tourists (numbering 655,842 in 2009 alone) [8] that could potentially introduce and increase risk behaviours, and then HIV [9]; sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among key affected populations [4], and the weak recording and reporting systems of STIs [3]; gender issues and cultural/religious and legal barriers that prevent condom promotion, and the absence of specific programmes for women injecting drug use [3]; and stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV within health care settings [3].

 

Adapted from HIV/AIDS Data Hub for Asia Pacific Website

Sources:
[1] World Bank. HIV/AIDS South Asia. Available from: http://go.worldbank.org/MZ344HCFE0
[2] UNAIDS, Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, 2010
[3] Maldives UNGASS Country Progress Report, 2010
[4] Maldives, Biological and Behavioral Survey, 2008, October 2008
[5] UNFPA, The case for investing in young people: as part of a national poverty reduction strategy, 2010
[6] Maldives, Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), 2009
[7] Maldives, Biological and Behavioral Survey, 2008, October 2008
[8] Maldives, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Tourism Yearbook 2010
[9] The World Bank, HIV & AIDS South Asia: Maldives, http://web.worldbank.org

Momentum for Integration Project

Initiatives by SHE (Society for Health Education)

SHE, Member Association of IPPF in Maldives is implementing the European Union supported Project titled ‘Building Momentum for sexual reproductive health (SRH) HIV Integration’. This project initiatives aim to promote integration in Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), government health system and also in private sector supported health service delivery.It is expected to contribute to the objective of improving overall sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR) in the country.

 

Major component of this project focuses on capacity enhancement supports to civil society organization (CSOs) which is expected to enable them to mobilize resources for integrated approach to sexual reproductive ill health and HIV and to advocate with Government for steps favouring integration in country. Project also entails other advocacy related initiatives which involve direct engagement with influential stakeholders to make them abreast of status of integration in the country and need of taking measures to uphold an integrated approach to SRH and HIV.

SHE under this project has completed a rapid assessment of in-country situation of SRH HIV integration in Maldives. Although Maldives is a HIV low prevalence country, there are key populations such as injecting drug user(IDUs) who engage in risky behavior and are in need of SRH and HIV services. There are no synergies and linkages in the existing laws and policies including the Health master plan 2006‐2015 for SRH and HIV. Range of Reproductive Health services are available at all level health facilities; however HIV services are limited including testing and availability of condoms. The Reproductive Health Unit and National AIDS Programme (NAP) is accountable for SRH and HIV. There is no joint planning since both programs function independently. The assessment has revealed the need to increase awareness to uptake these services by key populations such as IDUs who often face discrimination at service delivery level.

Considering the limitation of less number of CSOs working in Maldives on issues of SRH and HIV, SHE has been able to mobilize three CSOs to be part of capacity building initiatives taken up under the project. ‘Open hand’, a local CSO working with key populations (drug users) has been given a small grant support and also capacity building trainings along with which is expected to help them take initiatives to promote integration.

SHE represents as a member in the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM). In addition SHE is also represented in National Reproductive Health Committee, National AIDS council and also a member of the IPPF South Asia Regional Youth Network SARYN; SHE would utilize this association to promote integrated approach in responding to SRH ill health and HIV in country. SHE will also facilitate coalition of CSOs working with youth and help them take up the issue of integration. Maldives though a low prevalent country for HIV, vulnerability is a matter of concern. Integrated approach as a strategy for prevention will be focused in the upcoming initiatives.

Key Publications and Resources

Rapid assessment of sexual and reproductive health and HIV linkages: Maldives 
Year 2013| Authors: IPPF, UNAIDS, WHO, UNFPA
This summary highlights the experiences, results and actions from the implementation of the Rapid Assessment Tool for Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV Linkages in Maldives.
(Expected to be published in 2013)

Contact

 

Ms. Asna Luthfee
Programme Associate
Society for Health Education (SHE)
asna@she.org.mv

Susmita Choudhury
Project Coordinator SRH HIV Integration
schoudhury@ippfsar.org

Maldives beach

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