What are critical enablers?

What are critical enablers?

They are broader development activities and policies that help support HIV, TB and malaria programmes to be effective, efficient and able to reach all populations in need. Critical enablers support health services by addressing important issues – such as discrimination, violence, gender inequality, limited autonomy - that make it difficult for some populations to access essential services to protect and promote their health.

Critical enablers remove human rights and gender-related barriers to services and create an enabling legal, political, social, economic and cultural environment that protects peoples’ rights and promotes access to HIV, TB and malaria prevention, treatment, care and support services.

They include efforts that work to:

  • Protect, respect, promote and fulfil the human rights of all people, including key populations
  • Achieve gender equality and reduce harmful gender norms and gender-based violence, and
  • Create an enabling legal and policy environment which includes protective laws and policies for all, including for key populations.
Case Study: Seychelles addresses critical enablers in national HIV response
After conducting an assessment of the legal and regulatory framework and human rights and gender-related barriers to the HIV response in Seychelles in 2013, government, civil society and development partners took various steps to address critical enablers, hereby strengthening the legal and policy framework for affected populations. This included, amongst others:
  • Updating the Misuse of Drugs Act, 2016 to provide for needle and syringe exchange and substitution therapy programs as well as for the referral of people who use drugs to effective rehabilitation programmes in place of imprisonment.
  • Repealing section 155 of the Penal Code to decriminalise sex between men
  • Amendments to the Employment Policy to strengthen protection for employees with HIV, and
  • Working with immigration authorities to ensure that details of HIV status are no longer required for a Gainful Occupation Permit.
Situation Analysis of Legal and Regulatory Aspects of HIV and AIDS in Seychelles
Seychelles HIV & AIDS National Action Plan to Remove Legal Barriers

For more information on the role of the UN, UNDP and the Global Fund in relation to critical enablers, please see:

Critical Enablers