PHNOM PENH, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia has been presented with a Millennium Development Goals Award for its national leadership, commitment and progress towards achievement of Goal 6 - Combating HIV, malaria and other diseases, a press release from UN Office in Cambodia said on Monday.
Cambodia has been honored within the 'Government' category of the annual Awards initiative, presented at a high-profile event in New York City, the United States, it said.
Cambodia is recognized for efforts on HIV that have contributed to a decline in HIV prevalence from an estimated 2 percent (among adults aged 15-49) in 1998 to a projected 0.7 percent in 2010.
Cambodia has also achieved the universal access target for treatment, with over 90 percent of adults and children in need receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), due to the expansion of the Continuum of Care program established in 2003. Survival of PLHIV on ART after 12 months is estimated to be 87.4 percent in total (86.7 percent of adults and 93.9 percent of children).
"The Royal Government of Cambodia's response to HIV and AIDS has successfully scaled up HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV in Cambodia and generated benefits at the individual, community and health center level due to a high level of collaboration among all stakeholders, including UN agencies, civil society and development partners," said Teng Kunthy, Secretary General of the Cambodia National AIDS Authority.
Selecting Cambodia for the Award, the MDG Awards Committee was particularly impressed with the Government's successful scale-up of programs grounded in strong national leadership on HIV/AIDS, the solid National Strategic Plan (NSP) and collaborative partnerships, adhering closely to the 'Three Ones' principles one national coordinating body, one national multi-sectoral strategic plan, one single monitoring and evaluation system, the release said.
Innovative prevention programming in Cambodia over the last 10 years has included the introduction of the 100 percent Condom Use Policy which showed successes in preventing new infections. Progress has also led to impacts on the other health-related MDGs of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.
Successful scale-up of HIV services has contributed to a nearly 50 percent decrease in HIV prevalence among pregnant women at antenatal clinics, and in 2009 more than 32 percent of HIV- infected pregnant women received treatment to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, an increase from 11.2 percent in 2007.
The nomination of Cambodia for the MDG Award was a joint initiative by the UN system in Cambodia.
"We congratulate Cambodia on receiving the MDG Award. This experience shows if all the ingredients for success are in place that Millennium Development Goals are achievable strong leadership and commitment from the highest level, a sound policy framework backed up by the adequate level of resources and implementation capacity, and coordination and collaboration among all partners," said Douglas Broderick, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Cambodia. "The lessons learned here can be applied to accelerating the progress of those Goals still facing challenges, to ensure their achievement by 2015," he added.
However, "HIV is still a very real challenge in this country, and stigma and discrimination remain high, which creates a barrier to accessing services for prevention, care, support and treatment, " said Douglas Broderick.