Gaza Strip, 11 June 2012 – 40 journalists and 60 representatives from the national HIV and AIDS committee, UN agencies, civil society and government institutions completed a three-day workshop on strengthening the response to HIV and AIDS in the occupied Palestinian territory.There is no indication that anyone from the West Bank attended, so this was really a seminar for Gaza alone.
The workshop aimed at providing broad areas of training to strengthen the role of UN organizations and partners, from local and national institutions, in response to HIV and AIDS in the occupied Palestinian territory. The workshop also developed the participants’ leadership skills in order to reduce the stigma and convey accurate messages and facts on HIV and AIDS. The workshop was organized by UNDP through the Global Fund to fight HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and facilitated by experts from Egypt.
During the workshop, Dr Majdi Thhair, Director of Preventive Medicine in the Ministry of Health, thanked the Global Fund Programme for organizing the workshop and funding the training of two doctors from the Gaza Strip in HIV and AIDS medical treatment and psychological support.
According to the Ministry of Health, the cumulative number of patients with HIV or AIDS since 1987 reached 72 cases in the occupied Palestinian territory. There are 29 cases in the Gaza Strip, eight of whom are still alive and receiving treatment and support from the UNDP Global Fund programme.
A hundred people to cover how Gazans deal with only eight AIDS patients?
Of course, there are far more than eight people with AIDS in Gaza, the number is absurdly low. (In the West Bank it is low as well.) But UNDP's press release reveals no skepticism about Hamas' and the PA's official numbers, which means that either it is wasting a huge amount of time and money that could have been better spent elsewhere, or the agency is just to scared to point out that Hamas is the reason for the stigma about diagnosing AIDS.
Either way, the people in the UNDP look like clowns.
I emailed the contact person on the press release two days ago but received no response. Of course.
(h/t Gidon Shaviv, Israel Research Fellow)