2 December 2009

Tanzania: PM - No Room for Complacency in Fighting New HIV Infections

The Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, has warned Tanzanians of the imminent danger of mass infection of HIV/Aids due to complacency.

Addressing the nation during the International Aids Day marked at national level in Tanga yesterday, Mr Pinda said many people have been falling back in taking precautions against infection of the killer virus.

The Premier said the national infection rate which stands at 5.7 per cent, should jingle alarm bells to every Tanzanian.

He said although Tanzania is among two African countries listed on the forefront in the fight against the pandemic, efforts should be enhanced to reduce the prevailing rate. The other country is Zambia.

In his speech, Mr Pinda listed five regions which showed an upward trend in HIV/Aids infections. They are Iringa, (15.7%), Dar es Salaam (9.3%), Mbeya (9.2), Shinyanga (7.4%), Pwani (6.7%), Tabora (6.4%) and Ruvuma (5.9%).

Elsewhere, Unaids country coordinator Dr Luc Bariere-Constantin, has urged people to abandon stigma and discrimination, a major setback in the community's fights against the spread of HIV/Aids infection.

Dr Bariere-Constantin, who was speaking in Zanzibar yesterday during the commemoration of world Aids day, said there was a need for the Government to create space for the people of Zanzibar to adapt to the reality of the epidemic and adopt culturally appropriate measures for changes to happen.

According to him, the silence on the pandemic and about the underlining facts and behaviours that propels the epidemic by many people, has been another limiting factor in the war against HIV/Aids.

He added that the Government should consider changing the legal framework so as to protect HIV negative people from getting infected and to provide space for the others to safely get appropriate services.

In Morogoro, the Mayor, Prof Romanus Ishengoma, said the number of people living with HIV/Aids in the region has increased by 7.6 per cent during the previous nine months.

He said that number does not portray the real image of people living with HIV in Morogoro because among the 300,000 municipal residents, only 23,102 had their health status tested between January and September this year.

The mayor added that the statistics shows that women were the most affected.

In another development, Barclays Bank has dispatched Aids experts to secondary schools, higher learning institutions and to some of its customers in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and Mwanza, to educate them about the disease.

According to the bank's chief executive officer, Mr Jeremy Awori, the decision was part of the bank's initiative to educate one million people globally by March 2010, through the Clinton Global Initiative as it had previously pledged.

Zain Tanzania, on its part, donated hospital equipment worth Sh10 million to Mwananyamala District Hospital.

Speaking during the handing over ceremony at the hospital yesterday, Zain's corporate social responsibility manager Ms Tunu Kavishe, said the move was part of Zain's efforts to make sure patients access better medical services as the world Aids day theme states.

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