Tanzania: HIV Deaths Drop By 50 Per Cent

INITIATIVES taken by the government to control HIV/AIDS infections have paid off with the country recording 50 per cent decrease in the number of deaths related to the disease over the last decade.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disability, Ms Jenista Mhagama said here yesterday that the number of deaths has dropped from 64,000 in 2010 to 32,000 in 2020.

Speaking at the launch of the Tanzania Commission for Aids (Tacaids) Commission, Ms Mhagama said that the country is doing well in the fight against HIV infections, and seeing the number of interventions adopted by the government working well.

Commenting on HIV status in the country, local statistics note that Tanzania has made great strides in the fight against the scourge, and encouraging people to voluntary test their sero-status.

She further said: "Voluntary testing has increased from 61 per cent in 2016 to 83 per cent in 2019 and the use of antiretroviral drugs has also increased from 95 per cent in 2016 to 98 per cent in 2019 ... the number of HIV related deaths has dropped from 64,000 in 2010 to 32,000 last year, while transmission from mother to child has been reduced from 18 per cent in 2010 to 7 per cent in 2020."

Elaborating, the minister said HIV prevalence rate has dropped to 4.7 per cent according to the domestic statistics in 2017/17 in comparison to 7 per cent in 2003/04, adding that: "New infections among adult has also dropped from 110,000 in 2010 to 68,000 last year."

On the note, Ms Mhagama directed the commission to pay special attention to a number of areas, which fuel infections, citing them as stigmatisation, and voluntary testing especially among men.

Her list also included paying special attention to efforts, which prevent new infections focusing on the youth, who are said to be at higher risk of contracting the disease.

Minister Mhagama said that there was also a need to motivate children to also go for testing, and strengthening projects, which address transmission from mother to child, fight discrimination and stigmazation to people living with HIV.

"There are some areas in which the commission needs to make a close fellow up, especially on human and financial resources within the Commission and AIDS Trust Fund, and make evaluation of the current and future global HIV strategy," she said.

On his part, the Ministry's Deputy Permanent Secretary, Kasper Mmuya told the members to come up with strategies that will make all HIV programmes sustainable.

He said HIV programmes must be sustainable with local funding, instead of majorly relying on the donors, adding that members must be innovative and make supervision of the money from the ATF.

Equally, Mr Muya challenged the members to incorporate intervention programs into special groups of people living with disabilities, so that they also easily have access to the services.

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