Government has called for sustainable financing to reduce the huge economic impact of HIV on developing countries.
Minister of National Development Planning, Alexander Chiteme called for concerted efforts to broaden research into finding the cure to diseases and addressing disparities in the provision of support to the people living with HIV/AIDS in urban and rural areas.
Mr Chiteme made the call during the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the Funds Headquarters in Washington DC (USA) on Tuesday.
The Minister is Participating in the High-Level meetings on Economic impact of HIV spending and joint efforts to plan for a Sustainable HIV Response.
He said Zambia had made substantial progress in the response to HIV and AIDS.
“More than 4 million people access HIV counselling and Testing services annually and over 75 percent of people living with HIV are on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment,” he said.
Mr Chiteme also said that estimated annual new infections among adults aged 15 and above continued to decline from 67,000 in 2009 to 43,000 in 20018, while those for children aged 0-14 years declined from 23,000 to 8,700.
He told the delegates that annual AIDS related deaths have also decreased from 69,000 in 2002 to 19,000 in 2018.
Mr Chiteme said at the end of 2018, more than 29,000 health facilities countrywide were providing HIV testing and counselling services while the number of ART sites increased to more than 1,000 sites across the country from 509 in 2011.
He said Zambia had already started initiating sustainability measures through the introduction of a number of domestic resource mobilization initiatives and enhancing the country’s public management framework.
“I want to assure you that government will continue to develop mechanisms for its long-term sustainability of HIV response in Zambia,” said Mr Chiteme.
He said Zambia will embrace the National AIDS Spending assessment (NASA) principles to ensure that we are making right decisions in the allocations of resources for the HIV response.
The Minister thanked the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for its support to Zambia.
PEPFAR is the U.S. Government’s response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history.