Bali urged to strive for HIV/AIDS MDGs target

Bali has made significant progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), except in the fields of HIV/AIDS and the environment. Governor Made Mangku Pastika acknowledged there was a lot of work remaining to achieve the target of reducing new HIV infections and to provide health care for people with HIV/AIDS in the province. “We have made progress in public health and poverty eradication. We have reached the MDG targets for those sectors,” Pastika said Wednesday.

The administration recorded that the province had successfully reduced poverty from 7.18 percent of the population in 1996 to 3.95 percent in 2012. Indonesia has also successfully achieved its target in reducing malnutrition prevalence from 3.2 percent in 2007 to 1.7 percent in 2010. However, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS had yet to show good progress. As of 2012, the HIV prevalence rate had reached around 0.12 percent of the total population. Based on the MDG target, the prevalence should be less than 0.05 percent in 2015.

The proportion of residents receiving HIV/AIDS information had only reached 29 percent, far below the targeted 95 percent. Condom use had also yet to reach its target. The use of condoms is part of the attempt to reduce HIV transmission. All the indicators related to HIV/AIDS were marked as “need special attention”. According to data from KPA Bali, as of August 2013, there were 8,141 HIV/AIDS cases on the island, 77.67 percent of these involved heterosexuals.

HIV/AIDS also significantly affects young people, with 39.44 percent of cases involving those aged between 20 and 29 years old and 36.13 percent affecting the 30 to 39 age group. Pastika admitted that HIV/AIDS needed more attention. “We have two more years to reach the target, and I’m sure if everyone is committed, we can,” he stated. He said that HIV/AIDS should be handled in a comprehensive way. HIV transmission can occur in many ways, such as sexual intercourse and needle sharing to inject drugs.

“One of the short-term programs is to stop the operation of illicit cafes across Bali, believed to be used as sex trade venues,” the governor insisted. He admitted that weak commitment from many parties handling HIV/AIDS had become a major obstacle in dealing with the problem. In addition to HIV/AIDS, Pastika acknowledged that the province had also made insignificant progress with regard to the environment. This was related to rapid economic development boosting the population greatly, particularly with migrants.

“Population growth here in Bali has increased significantly. Within the last four years, our population has increased by 600,000 people, bringing us to 4.1 million in 2012. Everyone needs a house, vehicles, jobs, and they produce waste,” Pastika said. Rapid population growth has also triggered widespread land conversion on the island to make way for housing developments and business sites. “There should be a consistent policy to curb land conversion and to deal with the abundance of environmental problems if we want to achieve the MDG targets,” the governor said.

source : bali daily

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