Government has reiterated its resolve to intensify measures aimed at completely eliminating the HIV and AIDS burden in the country.
In a speech read for him by Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Kennedy Malama during the commemoration of the 2019 Word AIDS Day in Lusaka yesterday, Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said the Government has placed a high premium on ensuring health for all without making people face financial challenges when accessing health services, including HIV.
To achieve this, Government is creating a resilient and sustainable health care systems anchored on integrated community and primary health care approach.said Dr. Chilufya.
He noted that Government is aware that a healthy and productive population is a catalyst for socio-economic prosperity of the country.
He further stated that Zambia developed a national HIV and AIDS strategic framework running from 2017-2021 in an effort to mount an effective response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
The minister expressed concern that over 1.2 million people in Zambia are living with HIV and AIDS while 1.5 million died, thereby reversing many health and social gains that the country has recorded.
He added that the 2019 World AIDS Day theme “communities making a difference, pressing towards ending AIDS ” provides an opportunity for people to recognise the active role that communities play in ending AIDS at international, national and community levels.
He said the event also reinforces the greater need for the country to address the HIV and AIDS epidemic as one of Zambia’s biggest public health threats and the attainment of HIV epidemic control by 2020.
Earlier, UNAIDS Country Director Tharcisse Barihuta said Zambia has in the last 10 years continued to record a reduction in HIV and AIDS new infections but added that still 43,000 new infections occurred in 2018.
Dr. Barihuta noted that globally a lot has been achieved by investing in communities and giving the power to the people so that they can make choose and work together to end AIDS by 2020.