Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi warned on Tuesday against allowing the current battle against the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease to overshadow the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Speaking in Maputo on World AIDS Day, Nyusi said that HIV has not disappeared just because so much attention is now being paid to Covid-19. Indeed, it was necessary to step up the fight against HIV/AIDS, but in the new context of Covid-19.
"Despite the efforts we, as a country, have been making in the fight against HIV/AIDS, victories are coming very slowly, and the battle is far from being won", he said.
The figures are sombre. Nyusi said that an estimated 51,000 people died of AIDS in 2019, of whom 8.500 were children under the age of 15. About 2.2 million Mozambicans are living with HIV/AIDS, including 150,000 children.
"No province is registering a significant reduction in the number of people living with HIV", added the President. "In absolute terms, the provinces with the highest number of people living with HIV are Zambezia with 430,000, Maputo province with 360,000, and Nampula with 280,000. Niassa, with 73,000 and Tete with 93,000 are the provinces with the lowest number of people living with HIV".
The number of new infections continues to grow. In 2019 there were an estimated 120,000 new contaminations in adults aged 15 and above and 15,000 new contaminations among children.
This reality "shows that we still have a long way to go in terms of adopting the proven means for preventing HIV infection", said Nyusi.
This year, World AIDS Day is being commemorated under the slogan "Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility".
The Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Council (CNCS), Francisco Mbofana, told the Maputo meeting that this theme is particularly appropriate in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. "Global solidarity and shared responsibility will help the world defeat the Coronavirus, end the HIV epidemic as a threat to public health by 2030, and guarantee the right to health for everybody", he declared.