Arusha — REDUCED funding on HIV/Aids programmes in the country, over the years, is feared to have bad effects on the epidemic in as its response is highly dependent on foreign assistance.
"About 95 per cent of the funding for HIV and Aids programmes comes from foreign donors," the Arusha District Commissioner, Mr John Mongella, said.
He added that the move will hinder a planned treatment expansion and care services in Tanzania, a country whose Parliamentary Aids Coalition was recently recognized as a shining example on the role that politicians play in creating legislature to combat HIV and Aids.
Mr Mongella was speaking here during the just started International Training Institute on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights which has bought to Arusha women from all over the world.
They are meeting to address issues related to early marriages and forced marriages with their effects on the girl child.
The week-long training is being held here under the auspices of the World Young Women's Christian Organisation (World-YWCA).
It has been observed that one in every three girls, in the developing world, accounting to 14 million annually, gets married before the age of 18, while One in every nine girls, is forced into wedlock before attaining the age of 15 every year.
"Girls who give birth before the age of 15 are fivetimes more likely to die in child birth than women in their 20s while again the children born of child brides are 60 per cent more susceptible to early deaths," explained.
Ms Hendrica Okondo the YWCA Global Programme Manager on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), HIV and Aids.
The meeting delegates also heard the sad tale of Mama Mereso Kilusu whose testimony was on how she got forced into marriage even before reaching 14 years of age and to make matters worse the groom was a 70-years-old man.
"A girl, 14 years of age, in school and pregnant must have been terrified because she did not know enough about sex education and how to avoid pregnancy with no possibility of talking to her parents as they wouldn't understand," said Ms Evelyne Opondo, Regional Director for Centre for Reproductive Rights.