Bunge committee commends ICAP

MWANZA Regional authorities have commended the global health organisation- ICAP, for the funding of the multibillion health projects in the region including constructing 300 health facilities.

The remark was made here by the Mwanza Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) Mr Balandya  Elikana  during a meeting with  Parliamentary Committee on  HIV/ AIDS and Tuberculosis  members .

That was when the committee members toured the region to inspect projects supported by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ICAP at Columbia University in Mwanza region.

In particular, the tour was aimed at familiarisation with the ongoing implementation of the Tanzania HIV Impact Survey (THIS) 2022-2023 project and provision of comprehensive HIV services at health facilities and in the community through the FIKIA plus project.

ICAP is the major global health organisation that has been improving public health in countries around the world for nearly two decades

Mr Balandya said the multibillion health projects invested in the region will be a beneficial not only for Mwanza Region, but also other neighboring regions.

“We are very grateful for your support especially with the huge investments you have done in construction of health facilities”, he explained.

For his part, the Acting Mwanza Regional Medical Officer Dr Pius Maselle said the region has been given more than 2.3bn/- in this fiscal year for the implementation of HIV/AIDS services and male circumcision.

He said the funding has been provided by ICAP through the FIKIA + project aimed at increasing the achievement of 95-95-95  goals by ensuring access to antiretroviral medicines  by people living with HIV/AIDS.

He said ICAP through the projects employed 355 workers in healthcare facilities who spend over 3.5bn/- for salaries and other entitlements.

Dr Maselle further said that the organosation has also allocated more than 1bn/- for operations of Bugando Referral Hospital genetics laboratory, Misungwi and Buchosa councils including the purchase of vehicles for running various health projects activities.

He said out of 93,108 people who underwent HIV testing a total of 4,515 were tested positive and 99.5 percent of them were put on ARV use.

He explained that Mwanza region has a total of 118,164 people living with HIV, according to data obtained by end of September this year, adding that a total of 117,717 people were screened for Tuberculosis and 519 were tested positive and started medication.

He said with funding from PEPFAR through CDC, ICAP is currently implementing the “Sustain and Accelerate a comprehensive HIV Response’’ project (known as the FIKIA Plus Project) in all eight supported councils in Mwanza Region aiming  at achieving  rapid acceleration of ART initiation, strengthen treatment continuity and improve HIV viral load suppression among people living with HIV.

He clarified that FIKIA+ also aims to ensure that high-quality combination prevention interventions, including voluntary medical male circumcision, DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) programming, pre-exposure prophylaxis and access to condoms to achieve epidemic control, are accessible to at-risk and vulnerable population groups.

For her part, Vice Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on HIV and AIDS and Tuberculosis Dr Alice Kaijage said ICAP has done a lot in the health sector not only in Mwanza region, but in the country in general.

She said ICAP is implementing the Tanzania HIV Impact Survey (THIS) 2022-2023 project, being  funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and led by the government of t Tanzania through the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), the Zanzibar AIDS Commission, the Ministries of Health for Mainland and Zanzibar, National Bureau of Statistics,  the Office of Chief Government Statistician and the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government which is in a good progress until now.

Commenting, the THIS 2022 -2023 Director Dr Deogratias Kakiziba said their organization is a nationally representative household survey designed to estimate the coverage and impact of the country’s HIV prevention, care and treatment programmess and directly measure the status of Tanzania’s HIV epidemic, national HIV response, distribution of HIV risks and burden, and uptake of HIV services among adults 15 years and above.

“The survey will also measure the prevalence of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C”, he said adding that the data collection for THIS 2022-2023 is currently ongoing in selected locations in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar and is expected to cover approximately 20,000 randomly selected households.

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