France supports World AIDS Day in Laos

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Numerous events were organised in Vientiane with French support as part of marking World AIDS Day (December 1) under the theme of “the right to health”.

The public events to celebrate World AIDS Day from December 6 - 9 included the organising of conferences, exhibitions, concerts and a flash mob that brought together several hundred people.

According to the press release from French Embassy in Vientiane, along with many local and international partners, France was strongly committed to this day and contributed to the financing of almost all events through the 5 percent Initiative fund.

During festivities on the banks of the Mekong, more than a hundred volunteers danced during a flash mob in the middle of the night market crowd while Lao artists such as Aluna, Toun Diva and Tar Apacts also demonstrated their commitment during the closing concert for the day.

Lectures and exhibitions on HIV also marked the day with demonstrations, screenings and information on prevention presented to the public which included a large number of young people. Many other partners were involved in organising the events including CHAS, French Red Cross, Lao Red Cross, 5 percent Initiative, UNAIDS, IRD, Laos PSI, APL HIV, Lao PHA, Vientiane Health Department, Cord Laos, the European Union in Laos and World Health Organisation (WHO).

Through the 5 percent Initiative fund, France financed almost all of the events with the French Institute of Laos and Institute for Development Research also mobilising their teams in support.

In order to encourage the practice of screening, Ambassador of France in Laos, Mrs Claudine Ledoux, with Ambassador of the European Union in Laos, Mr Léo Faber, undertook a HIV test in public.

In 2010, France initiated a new modality to contribute to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: the 5 percent Initiative which is implemented as an indirect contribution from France to the Global Fund, equivalent to 5 percent of the total French contribution to the Fund each year, or 18 million euro annually, for the period from 2014-2016.

It aims to respond to requests for technical expertise from Global Fund grant recipient countries, to support them in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and impact measurement of Global Fund grants to enhance their effectiveness and health impact. In Laos, more than 2.3 million Euros were committed in 2016.

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