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Addis-Ababa, February 14, 2014: The 7th IRAPP Steering Committee Meeting closed today at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa after three days of consultations. The opening ceremony on february 12th was co-presided over by Mr. Elsadig Abdalla, IGAD Director of Economic Cooperation and Social Development on behalf of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Ato Meskele Lera, Deputy Director General of the Federal Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office of Ethiopia (HAPCO) and Chairman of the meeting, Mr. Erick Ordeman, First Secretary of the Embassy of Canada to Ethiopia and Representative for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs to this meeting, Trade and Development (DFATD), and Dr. Mohamed Ali Kamil, IRAPP Co-task Team Leader at the World Bank, with facilitation from Dr. Ahmed Hassan, IRAPP Program Coordinator, and Fathia Alwan, IGAD Program Manager Health & Social Development.

The objective of the meeting was to give policy direction for IGAD Regional AIDS/HIV Partnership Program (IRAPP) activities in general and fast-track the implementation of IRAPP activities using the additional funds received from the Canadian DFATD through the World Bank.

The meeting was attended by all Directors of member states’ National AIDS/HIV Commissions (NAC). The Djibouti delegation led by Dr Saleh Banoita, the Ethiopian delegation led by Ato Meskele Lera, the Kenyan delegation led by Mr. John Kawigi accompanied by former Director General of NAC-Kenya, Prof. Orago, the Puntland delegation led by Mr. Abdourachid Mahamoud, the Somalia delegation led by Ahmed Jimcale, the Somaliland delegation led by Pr. Abdi Ali, the South Sudanese delegation led by Dr. Esterina Novel, the Sudanese delegation led by Dr. Elamin Ahmed Mohamed, and the Ugandan delegation led by Dr. David K. Apuuli  engaged in discussions and exchanged perspectives after the official opening remarks, the adoption of the agenda, and a minute of silence observed in remembrance of Late Carla Bertoncino, former IRAPP Task Team Leader at the World Bank.

Dr. Ahmed Hassan in his opening remarks welcomed the participants and thanked “the World Bank and the Canadian DFATD for giving” IRAPP “the 1st grant and the 2nd grant respectively”. He nevertheless highlighted the fact that there have been challenges in the implementation of IRAPP activities as the 2nd grant reached IGAD member states with a delay of six months. He consequently took the opportunity to “appeal to the Canadian DFATD and the World Bank to be flexible”.

Mr. Erick Oderman noted that “while overall project implementation slowed down during the financial year 2012/13, owing to the delay in processing Canada’s funds, the project still met and surpassed cumulative targets as well as key intermediate outcomes for the year”. He also acknowledged that there were “some bottlenecks that needed to be addressed urgently (…)”.

After a few kind words by Dr. Mohamed Ali Kamil of the World Bank, Ato Meskele Lera stated that “IRAPP (…) has been one of the most successful collaborative initiatives in the region”.

The agenda for the meeting was officially endorsed by the 7th IRAPP Steering Committee Meeting that also served as a preparatory meeting for the upcoming IGAD International Conference on Health (HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health) for Pastoralists and Cross-border Mobile Populations tentatively scheduled for October this year.

In his remarks on behalf of Ethiopian Minister of Health at the closing ceremony on February 14th, Dr Addis Tamire Woldemariam, Director General of the Office of Minister of Health of the Ethiopia, highlighted that the “IGAD International Health Conference will serve as a platform for sharing best practices (…) in reaching cross-border and mobile populations including pastoralists”.

Hon. Netsannet Asfaw, sitting for the Executive Secretary of IGAD, noted in her closing remarks added that the upcoming IGAD International Health Conference “will create a forum of exchange of knowledge and experiences on health and social issues of Cross Border Mobile Populations”.

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