WHILE different stakeholders have increasingly responded to the government’s call to contribute to the Tanzania Aids Trust Fund (ATF), Geita Gold Mine Ltd (GGML) has contributed over 250m/- for the cause, challenging other private partners to take a leaf.
During the commemoration of World Aids Day yesterday, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled) Jenista Mhagama challenged different stakeholders to contribute to ATF.
Launching the cause at the weekend, special boxes were designed where individual members of the public were asked to contribute something with regional commissioners from Mara, Simiyu, Shinyanga, Kagera and Geita volunteering to do the same in their respective regions.
“We have managed to mobilise some contributions during weeklong celebrations here and I trust other regional commissioners will do the same,” said the minister.
Over 1m/- was collected on the spot World Aids Day, but Minister Mhagama said more contributions must be made in other regions to ensure people were mobilised to volunteer donating to ATF.
But in an interview with ‘ Daily News’, GGM Senior Manager for Health, Safety, Environment and Training, Dr Kiva Mvungi, said the company had responded effectively by contributing 200m/- last year and over 50m/- this year.
He said the government could collect more money for key national events if it came up with innovations and new approaches, involving public and private sectors as well as other members of the public.
“First, the government can decide to set aside at least 1 per cent from its annual budget for the cause or can ask stakeholders like telecommunications companies to do so by cutting some money from subscribers’ daily transactions,” said Dr Mvungi.
Giving an example, he said the telecommunications companies could deduct only 1 per cent from communication costs on a daily basis or the same could be arranged with fuel and power consumers facilitating the collection of some money on a daily basis.
On whether Tanzania can attain zero HIV/Aids infections by 2030 amidst new interventions like self-testing methods, Dr Mvungi said there was no doubt the target could be achieved only if every approach was carefully cross-examined and well-implemented.
Citing self-testing, he said even before the government came with official action on the matter some people used to do self-testing secretly with no tangible impact.
Already, he said, some members in the private sector had stood by the government in waging war on HIV/Aids, citing GGM, which for the last 12 years had mobilised over 12bn/- for the cause through the annual Mount Kilimanjaro Climb Challenge.
In marking World Aids Day this year, GGM has set aside over 200m/- for facilitating voluntary testing of more than 4,000 staff and contractors in an exercise expected to be carried out for over 10 days consecutively.