Bagamoyo — THE Coast Regional Commissioner, Ms Mwantumu Mahiza, has warned local government leaders that she will not hesitate firing anybody implicated in delaying the delivery of health services.
She gave the warning during a stakeholders' meeting organised by the Tanzania Health Promotion Support (THPS) for Coast Region, where it was revealed that there were people in HIV/AIDS outreach programmes who did not reach the people.
THPS is a local NGO that works with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Prime Minister's office to support provision of comprehensive HIV prevention, care and treatment services initially in Coast Region and the Ocean Road Cancer Institute.
She said that she had received with utmost shock that the Coast Region gets 314 new cases of HIV/AIDS everyday and that there was serious need to pull up their socks. The RC said that if the sources of the report are anything to go by, then until the end of this year, there would be at least 311,000 new cases, a trend that must be reversed, Ms Mahiza also raised concern over misuse and theft of resources.
She said there is a case where fuel meant for transporting health workers to go and see people living with HIV/AIDS had gone missing. She also said drugs were being mishandled and damaged or expiring before reaching the intended people. The THPS Board Chairman and a paediatrician, Prof Augustine Massawe echoed the concerns of the RC, saying that 60 babies are born daily with HIV positive in the country.
Prof Massawe said that the chances of these children reaching adulthood were almost zero yet drugs and testing of their mothers during pregnancy could avert this situation. "Coast region is lagging behind in meeting the targets that have been set.
What needs to be done is to ensure more women are tested when they get pregnant and treatment to follow immediately when they test positive," he advised.
He said that evidence shows that men are still very reluctant to be screened as compared to women and that according to a survey conducted at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), only 20 per cent of men accompany their spouses to clinics and get tested.
The Coast Region HIV/ AIDS Deputy Programme Coordinator, Mr William Nelson said that the statistics of the 314 new cases in the region were obtained from the data entered into the District Health Information System as of December 2011 to date.
The THPS Chief Executive Officer, Dr Redempta Mbatia, said statistics show that nationally 783,075 have been registered but 412,108 are on ARVs and that there have been new cases but yet to be reached while others have stopped taking the drugs.