AS a nation, the memories of AIDS are etched on us: of family members taken too soon, leaving us bereaved and broken; of country’s development plans thrown off course; and of fearing that this threat might be impossible to defeat.
Today, however, the progress made against the epidemic in Tanzania is a miracle -- government has tirelessly worked together with communities to contain the devastating effects of the scourge.
But we must be sharp-eyed because AIDS remains undefeated. To end AIDS, we need a new era of good leadership — serious, courageous, just.
We must understand that health care is a human right and should never depend on how much money we have in our pockets. We must demand cutting-edge medicines and health care for people living with HIV.
Our public health systems must deliver services that reach people most in need, and government must support communities of people living with and affected by HIV to take community-led service provision to scale.
Tanzanian young women and girls as noted yesterday during the height of the World Aids Day commemoration, face an unacceptably high risk of HIV infection while services are not always well designed to meet young people’s needs for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services.
Ensuring comprehensive primary and secondary education must underpin equality — but leadership also needs to confront rules and customs that keep girls and women down.
Business, the media, trade unions, faith groups, community organisations, social movements, and cultural influencers all have a role to play.
We need to be humble and inclusive and work to reinforce the leadership of others, particularly of communities affected by HIV.
For Tanzania, this must be the decade of acceleration in the fight against AIDS — a decade of leadership under President John Magufuli.
When we tell the generation not yet born about the story of AIDS, let us share with them the memories when AIDS first hit us, the memory of when we started to fight back, and the memory of consigning AIDS to memory.