Tanzania: HIV - With Partnership 95-95-95 Targets Inevitable

TANZANIA: WITH Amref Health Tanzania partnering with the government to attain lasting health change, especially among the most vulnerable communities, efforts are on the rise to meet the 2030 goal of achieving end-to-end HIV/ AIDS transmission.

Here, Tanzania's goal is to reach HIV epidemic control by 2030, with 95 per cent of people living with the disease aware of their HIV status, 95 per cent of those testing positive placed on continuous HIV treatment, and 95 per cent of those on treatment reaching viral suppression.

To achieve this, Amref is set to strengthen the provision of services and treatment of HIV patients in government HIV/AIDS clinics and selected hospitals.

Doing so will help increase the speed of achieving the 95-95-95 goals of controlling the AIDS epidemic in the country. This partnership is a continuation of Amref's previous project known as 'Afya Kamilifu' which lasted five years from 2018 to 2023 focusing on four regions: Tanga, Simiyu, Mara and Zanzibar.

The new project is known as 'Afya Thabiti' which commenced last October and will climax in September 2028. Equally, the project will cut through three regions: Mara, Simiyu and Zanzibar.

The project is funded by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Tanzania) and implemented by Amref Tanzania in collaboration with the Centre for International Health, Education and Biosecurity (CIHEB Tanzania), TCDC Tanzania, and Afya Plus and regional and council health teams (R/CHMT).

Over the weekend, Amref met with the Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister's Office for Regional Administration and Local Government (PMORALG) to introduce the HIV Care and Treatment Project known as Afya Thabiti.

The meeting was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Health and PMORALG and graced by Dr Anath Rwebembera, Programme Manager of the National Programme for the Control of AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Hepatitis (NASHCoP).

In her remarks, Dr Rwebembera said, "The Ministry of Health and the government in general have continued to work with stakeholders in implementing various health interventions, improving infrastructure and providing health services to beneficiaries. "The government has planned to ensure that it reaches the global goal of eradicating the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

That is why today we are meeting with our stakeholders here at Amref Tanzania, who have been an important link in providing treatment and care services to people living with HIV and protecting those who have not been infected with HIV." Dr Rwebembera further noted that the rate of HIV infection in Tanzania is 4.4 per cent (Tanzania Mainland 4.5, Zanzibar 0.4).

She further highlighted that the infections have continued to be greater in the regions of Njombe, Iringa, Mbeya, Songwe, Kagera, Shinyanga, Ruvuma, Geita, Coast and Mwanza where the infection rate is above the national infection rate according to Tanzania HIV Impact Survey (THIS) 2023.

Also, Dr Rwebembera disclosed, "The rate of new infections is the biggest per year for young people and is 0.18 per cent equal to 60,000 cases while the infection rate for young women is seen to be 0.24 per cent compared to 0.11 for young men. "Even the overall rate of infection shows that 5.6 per cent are women compared to 3.0 per cent among men.

However, the level of infection has continued to decrease compared to five years ago due to the efforts and measures that have been carried out by the government in collaboration with stakeholders," she added.

Dr Rwebembera pointed out that the government expects that the project will continue the success of the past 5 years and continue to reduce or eliminate new infections in the project areas.

"The government will continue to cooperate with the project and provide all kinds of required contributions so that the Healthy Health project can take greater steps. The project will continue to get cooperation from the ministry and health management teams in the relevant regions and areas" she stressed.

Dr Edwin Kilimba, Director of the Sustainable Health Project, represented Dr Florence Temu, Resident Director of Amref Tanzania. "We believe that close cooperation with our colleagues in the Mara and Simiyu regions will help us achieve the government's goal of providing health services to all citizens."

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