22 September 2017

Africa: Mutharika Touts Malawi Progress On Fast-Track Initiative Ending HIV By 2030

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(File photo).

World leaders including six African presidents Thursday demonstrated how the Fast Track approach to ending AIDS is working and positively positive impacting on health systems in most countries.

Fast Track is a strategy that the world adopted to end Aids through treatment, reduction of new infection and elimination of discrimination.

A high-level side event called Fast Track: Quickening the pace of action to end aids took place at UN Headquarters in New York and saw the leaders telling success stories that were largely attributed to the initiative.

Malawian President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika was in attendance and shared Malawi's success story towards 90:90:90, an ambitious treatment target to help end the Aids epidemic.

The 90:90:90 states that by the end of 2020, 90 percent of people living with HIV are diagnosed, 90 percent of those diagnosed are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and maintained and finally that countries achieve viral suppression for 90 percent of patients on ART

For Malawi, such an ambitious treatment is on right track, according to President Mutharika.

"The progress we have made inspires the hope of ending AIDS. In Malawi, 70 percent already know their status, 66 percent of people living with HIV are on treatment," Mutharika said.

He further stated that 59 percent of people living with HIV have viral load suppressed.

Prof. Mutharika was optimistic that given this progress, Malawi will achieve the 90-90-90 targets by 2020.

"This progress fortifies our belief that man has the capacity to eliminate AIDS from the face of the earth," President Mutharika said.

He attributed the progress to sound policy frameworks that have helped in guiding the nation in fight against AIDS.

The Malawi President was quick to remind the world that the battle is not yet won and asked countries to demonstrate their commitment by increasing their contribution to national AIDS responses.

"We all need sustainable, predictable and reliable funding. The global community needs to do more. As affected countries, we must step up our responsibility of funding our response programmes," he said.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe commended the six African countries for their commitments toward the Fast Track cause.

"When I visited Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Uganda, these countries were at the epicentre of Aids crisis. Many people said they would not be on the map of Africa.

"But today, these countries have shown that it's not about managing the epidemic, but how to control it," Sidibe said.

However, the UNAIDS chief said there is still need for more investment in health systems mainstreaming HIV/Aids care and treatment.

"All we need is global solidarity from our solidarity," Sidibe said.

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