Health systems are struggling, particularly in Africa, where HIV prevalence and the burden of the disease are highest. Years of neglect, underinvestment, structural adjustment programs, and poor governance, have weakened these systems. Civil society groups have expressed concerns that the influx of resources for HIV has exposed these weaknesses and in certain cases distorted health systems. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) have also acknowledged that selective approaches targeting specific diseases may have had the unintentional effect of eroding health systems.
The HIV community has heard these concerns and is adjusting its response to ensure that HIV and AIDS programming will better contribute to improving health systems. At the 2008 International AIDS Conference, the International AIDS Society, UNAIDS, the GFATM and many senior HIV experts restated their commitment to a more balanced approach that couples universal access objectives with support for the development of strong health systems.
Given this context, in 2008, ICAD decided in 2008, that strengthening health systems in order to support broader HIV and AIDS program delivery would become one of the three key objectives of it's public engagement strategy.
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