PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has issued several directives aimed at intensifying fight against HIV/AIDS in the country with the aim of attaining the global and national target of ending the epidemic.
The goal of the current global HIV target is to end the disease as a public health threat by 2030, while Tanzania aims at ending it by 2026.
In her speech, the Head of State instructed the Ministry of Health, the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and various stakeholders to direct more efforts in preventing new infections in the country.
Elaborating, she noted that lack of equity in the provision of services to people living with HIV/AIDS has been identified as one of the factors, which hold back the efforts by the government and various stakeholders in the fight against the scourge in the country.
President Samia said that high HIV prevalence among young people aged between 15 and 24 is also another factor, which slows down the country’s efforts in the fight against the disease.
“There is an urgent need of coming up with strong strategies which will help to prevent new HIV infections among young people and Tanzanians in general,” the President said during the World AIDS Day commemoration marked in Lindi Region, yesterday.
Equally, Dr Samia also directed the Ministry of Health and TACAIDS to set up strategies which will encourage voluntary testing and the use of antiretroviral drugs to suppress the virus, fight stigma and discrimination among people living with the disease.
She insisted on a need to scale HIV prevention campaign in colleges, schools and in streets in order to rescue the youth, calling upon the National Council of People Living with HIV (NACOPHA) to support the efforts.
Stressing, Dr Samia said the lack of equity in the provision of HIV services is a world problem, especially when it comes to diseases which affect the entire globe such as HIV/AIDS and Covid-19.
Referring to the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS report, President Samia said that the country has achieved very little in fighting stigma and discrimination among people living with HIV/AIDS.
“The world and our national target are to attain zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero HIV-related stigma and discrimination by 2030 and 2026 respectively,” she said.
She further said that the milestone recorded by Tanzania in the fight against HIV/AIDS is attributed to the concerted support extended by development partners and other stakeholders to accelerate the country’s progress in ending the epidemic.
“The success we have achieved in the prevention of HIV/AIDS is due to great support from our development partners and other stakeholders,” she pointed out.
President Samia also mentioned Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as among the stakeholders, whose support have led to the country’s achievements in the prevention of HIV/ AIDS infections.
She said the development partners and stakeholders provided the government with financial support and professional pieces of advice towards the prevention of the epidemic.
Her list also included the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Global Fund and UN Agencies, which have extended huge financial support in the National HIV/AIDS response.
The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) commended Tanzania for the achievements made in the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
In its report launched last Tuesday in the country, UNAIDS said Tanzania has consistently reduced the number of new HIV infections and deaths by 50 per cent between 2010 and 2021.
President Samia said that she was optimistic that the development partners and other stakeholders will continue to support the country in its efforts to reduce the number of new infections to at least 95 per cent by 2030.