29 March 2018

Tanzania: Tacaids Sets Up 20 AIDS Education Centres

Dodoma — TANZANIA Commission for AIDS is putting up twenty AIDS education and training centres along the southern corridor targeting southern highland regions where a number of people diagnosed with HIV remains relatively higher.

Apparently, the commission said it has also reviewed the HIV and AIDs strategy for central regions, mostly Dodoma where the region's epidemic grew by 72.4 percent in the past four years.

Dr. Leonard Maboko, the Tacaids Executive Director told the Parliamentary HIV and AIDS Affairs Committee lawmakers here this week that the plan is to ensure the community have access to sites that provide education on HIV and related comorbidities such as hepatitis, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. "This is one of the many strategies that Tacaids through the Aids Trust Fund (ATF) considers doing for areas where the epidemic prevalence remains very high. To start with, the southern corridor will be commissioning at least 20 centres," he said at a meeting chaired by Mr Rwegasira Oscar.

HIV and AIDs education and training centres are commonly used in offering training to a number of areas, including adherence, antiretroviral therapy, opportunistic infections, prevention methods and substance abuse. The centres train and educate people, offer technical assistance to healthcare clinics that provide HIV care and treatment. A study published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2017 shows that HIV prevalence among adults was as high as 11.4 percent in Njombe, 11.3 in Iringa and 9.3 percent in Mbeya regions.

The three regions form part of the southern corridor to Zambia through Tunduma border. "This is the major route. We're considering that a large number of truck drivers plying between Tanzania and Zambia stop in the three regions with the most highest HIV prevalence ... we cannot let them spread the infection to other regions or to other people," he said. At least 1.4 million people are HIV positive in Tanzania, with Lindi and Zanzibar recording the lowest infection rate at less than one percent, Dodoma, Tanga and Mwanza too have the highest magnitude of prevalence changes.

The new report indicates prevalence in Dodoma rose from 2.9 in 2012 to 5 percent in 2017. In Tanga and Mwanza, it changed from 2.4 and 4.2 percent to 5 and 7.2 percent respectively during the year under review. He said with the government relocating its administration offices to Dodoma, the commission had reviewed its strategy to ensure the influx of newcomers in the central region does not retard fights against the epidemic in the country.

Manyovu lawmaker Mr. Albert Ntabaliba (CCM) and member of the committee was concerned that the 72 percent prevalence in Dodoma was worrisome, calling on the commissioner to ensure the exodus migration to Dodoma does not cause panic.

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