Thursday, May 26, 2022
HomeLocal NewsHIV EXPLOSIONM

HIV EXPLOSIONM

INISTER of Health, Sylvia Masebo is concerned that despite the many achievements  made in the fight against HIV and AIDS, 51,000 new infections were recorded in the country last year.

Mrs Masebo says there has been an increase in new infections and has emphasized the need to control the situation as it has a potential to reverse the gains that Zambia have made in the HIV response.

Speaking at the World AIDS Day candlelight memorial service at the University of Zambia chapel in Lusaka yesterday, Mrs Masebo called on stakeholders to put in high impactful interventions, structured to prevent new infections.

She noted that despite the availability of a widening array of effective HIV prevention tools and methods and a massive scale-up of HIV treatment in recent years, there has been unequal progress  in reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to treatment, and ending AIDS-related deaths.

“Stigma and discrimination, together with other social inequalities and exclusion, are proving to be key barriers,” she stated.

The Minister of Health observed that the covid-19 pandemic has also worsened the inequalities as at the peak of covid-19 waves, access to HIV prevention and treatment services become challenging.

“The closure of schools, bars, restaurants, lodges and hotels result in job losses which predispose people to economic, gender and educational inequalities that have potential to stop and begin to reverse the gains made in reducing new HIV infections and aids related deaths. This government will therefore promote interventions helping end or reduce the negative impact of both pandemics.” She said.

The Minister of Health however noted that the country has made progress in the past decade in improving access to HIV testing, treatment and care.

Mrs Masebo said that the implementation of universal health coverage has ensured that all Zambians regardless of economic or geographic status have access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment services.

She said that a total of 1,180,883 Zambians are on life saving antiretroviral therapy.

She observed, “The efforts have resulted in a 28% reduction in AIDS related deaths between 2005 and the year 2020. Further, I wish to note that the country has  achieved the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets with 92.9% of people living with HIV in Zambia knowing their status, 96.2 of these are  on antiretroviral therapy and 91%  have achieved viral load suppression.”

The Minister of Health stated that the achievements have been made through collaborative efforts of all the various stakeholders including the donor community, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and various other partners.

And National AIDS Council Director General Connie Osborne said the country has not done well in preventing new cases of HIV.

Ms Osborne stressed the need for enhanced efforts in fighting new HIV infections in the country.

“And now with the covid-19, we need to ensure that we do not forget about one when fighting the other,” she said.

Meanwhile, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia acting executive director, Bishop Andrew Mwenda, said it will take collaborative efforts of people who are resolved to fight both the HIV and covid-19 pandemics.

“It will take more than money to fight the two pandemics that have been the biggest threat to our health systems,” he said.
– ZANIS.

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Observer. on SEX PILLS IN WATER
Dr. I.P.A. Manning on THE BAN OF POACHERS IN ZAMBIA
Lulumbi on EXPENSIVE WORSHIP
Patrick Bwalya on THE ALEX CHOLA FACT-FILE
Patrick BWALYA on DRIVER HACKED, LEFT FOR DEAD