THE US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Iringa Region recently celebrated its 20th year by highlighting some of its achievements and successes in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Bravo!
In a show of solidarity with the government to fight the scourge, Tuberculosis and Malaria among others, PEPFAR has contributed a lot in the development of the country that as Tanzanians, we must appreciate and praise.
These are people who have offered support to the citizens right from the grassroots without diverting by first fielding conditions to be met, and above all, they have followed the course that was tailored by the government through consultations with our technocrats.
It was exemplary when the USAID Mission Director for Tanzania Craig Hart also made it clear to the beneficiaries of their support to trust the government that is seeing into it that all the United Nations- Sustainable Development Goals are addressed by 2030.
Take for example; PEPFAR has helped reduce AIDS-related deaths by almost 80 per cent since 2003 and new infections by almost 60 per cent. When the programme began, less than 1000 people in Tanzania were on HIV treatment and today, more than 1.5 million Tanzanians are receiving this life saving treatment. With this spirit, as Tanzanians we must appreciate and thank the development partners for the kind gesture shown to us.
Equally, imagine for 60 years now in the country, the United States partnership with the people of Tanzania to advance shared development objectives has shown that the people are not only partners in development, but real brothers with the same concerns as any Tanzanian.
We all know that the goal of USAID’s assistance is to facilitate Tanzanian youth’s role in advancing the country’s long-term prosperity and journey to self-reliance, as citizens, we must also try to show capability and willingness of owning and sustaining the projects as envisioned.
Again, as much as the government also welcomes onboard other partners in the fight against diseases, poverty and ignorance amongst others, it should be noted by all stakeholders that without solid cooperation as a family, the collective goal and vision of a better future will still be far away from reach.
Strange behaviours like corruption, misuse and stealing funds meant for development of the country, 60 years since USAID set foot in the country to support us fight diseases and attain the SDGs, should now be unheard of.
Equally, there are several implementing partners working alongside the funders, be they local or international, there should be a spirit of working as a team so that we collectively sail the country to the envisioned level seeing zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related death by 2026. It is possible and it starts with you.