Samia extols US support in Tanzanians’ wellbeing

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has expressed gratitude to the US government for its support in improving the wellbeing of Tanzanians.

The Head of State said that the support has enhanced the government’s efforts in improving various sectors including health, education, water, sanitation, agriculture, food security, natural resources, infrastructure development, democracy, human rights and good governance.

Dr Samia made the remark in a joint press conference with the visiting US Vice President Kamala Harris at the State House in Dar es Salaam, on Thursday.  She said through the support in health sector, HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) is no longer a threat to Tanzanians.

According to her, HIV infection rate has dropped from 7.2 per cent in 2012 to 4.7 per cent in 2016/2017 and the disease recorded further drop in 2021.

She noted that through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) HIV transmission from mother to child has been reduced, noting that, HIV positive women are assured of giving birth to children who are not infected.

Reports from the Ministry of Health indicate that Tanzania has managed to reduce new HIV infections by 58 per cent through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

According to the statistics, the new infections have dropped from 130,000 in 2003 to 54,000 in 2021, while HIV related deaths have dropped by 76 per cent from 120,000 deaths in 2003 to 29,000 in 2021.

On TB, President Samia said new infections have dropped from 306 people in every 100,000 people to 208 in every 100,000 people.

The president further said that, through the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) Malaria deaths have significantly dropped from 7.7 per cent in 2015 to 3.5 per cent in 2021.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, the country has managed to reduce Malaria deaths from 6,311 in 2015 to 2,400 in 2020 while the infection rate has dropped by more than 50 per cent from 14.8 per cent in 2015 to 7.5 per cent in 2017.

“We have reduced Malaria deaths by more than a half … we hope that with more efforts the deaths will further be reduced … our aim is to have Malaria free society,” she said

Dr Samia added that “this programme will help to attain our objective of eradicating the disease in the country.”

The President, further invited investors to invest in pharmaceutical industry in the country in order to reduce the cost in the value chain.

” We are ready to host any investor who will be interested in investing in pharmaceutical industry in order to reduce the cost… when we produce medical drugs in the country we will reduce  the cost,” president Samia said.

In Tanzania, 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. Today, more than 1.5 million Tanzanians are receiving this life saving treatment. New infections have dropped from 130,000 in 2003 to 54,000 in 2021.

According to a US government official website, since 2005, USAID has supported efforts under the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) to improve prevention through insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs), indoor residual insecticide spraying and prevention of malaria in pregnancy.

Additionally, PMI activities control the spread of malaria by assisting prompt diagnosis and treatment, disease surveillance, human resources capacity, malaria awareness and healthy behaviours.

In 2019, USAID and Tanzania signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister’s Office of Regional and Local Government to commit to the Global Accelerator to end TB.

The Accelerator leverages public and private sector resources to build local capacity for client-centred care and treatment of TB patients.

Since 2019, USAID partners have expanded case detection using improved TB diagnostic and screening tools, including the detection of multidrug resistant TB, initiating patients on TB treatment in partnership with community TB volunteers, civil society organisations and local government.

In 2021, USAID support contributed to TB case identification and treatment initiation to 87,415 people nationwide but specifically 39,877 TB patients were put on treatment in 16 USAID.

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