HIV/Aids infection rate drops to7 pc - govt

08Mar 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
HIV/Aids infection rate drops to7 pc - govt

TANZANIA has recorded a landmark in the fight against HIV/Aids as the national average infection rate has dropped to 7 per cent from over 20 per cent when the first cases were reported in 1980s.

Dr Leo Zekeng, Country Director United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS)

However, the infection rate is different in the regions whereby some have the highest rate of 10 per cent, said Prof Mohammed Bakari, Chief Medical Officer when speaking after opening the final closeout stakeholders meeting of Save the Children Global Fund programme in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

“We have made progress in the fight against HIV/Aids, most of the new infections are now in specific groups such as women and youth,” he noted.

Prof Bakari said it is not only the time to focus on the achievements and successes but also on what the issues and challenges were encountered when implementing HIV/Aids and tuberculosis (TB) programmes.

Reading a speech on behalf of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Prof Mpoki Ulusubisya, he said 232, 000 people were tested for HIV/Aids and counseled in two years during implementation of a programme by Save the Children.

He said that Save the Children also strengthened the capacity of 66 Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and renovated 13 TB treatment centres.

The PS noted that 7,000 new cases of TB were detected as 776 community health workers were engaged in capacity building trainings and deployed to support primary prevention of mother to child transmission programme in 14 regions.

“As we deliberate on Save the Children’s contribution to the national response through this programme, this is also the time to reflect as a nation on our national response to the twin epidemic of TB and HIV/AIDS, how we have fared in implementing the response plans, how we have owned the processes and the results and how we can work more effectively together,” said Prof Ulusubisya.

He underscored the need for the government and stakeholders to continue investing in building the capacity of our CBOs, FBOs, youth and women groups to become equal partners in the implementation of the programme.

“There is the need for stronger government ownership, support and acknowledgment of efforts of our implementation partners, this can go a long way in improving confidence and motivating our partners to do more,” he noted.

Dr Leo Zekeng, Country Director United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) said: “We are not there yet, we have a 1.4 million population infected with HIV/Aids. Fighting epidemic requires various efforts from multiple stakeholders.”

Dr Zekeng noted that the Global Fund report of 2015 mentions HIV/Aids, malaria, TB and anemia among the major causes of deaths in Tanzania.

He however pointed that there is a need for the country to start mobilising itself to be able to implement HIV and TB programmes in absence of donors.

 Save the Children was awarded the Global Fund grant in the past two years and started field implementation in April 2016. Save the Children implemented the programmes in collaboration with non-government organisations namely, AMREF, AFRICARE, BMF and MDH.