UNAIDS Country Director Tharcisse Barihuta has said that despite the progress made in the recent years towards fighting the HIV and AIDS epidemic, there have not been enough resources available.
Speaking during the World AIDS Day commemoration at Olympia Africa Grounds, Dr Barihuta said that the National Assessment of Spending on AIDS recently conducted by the Ministry of Health in partnership with UNAIDS Support indicated that developing countries like Zambia are still facing competitive emergency needs such as health, education, roads and water sanitation.
Despite the world’s commitment to implement universal health coverage, the percentage of people paying catastrophic health costs out of their pockets has only increased in the past five years.
And speaking during the same event, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Daphne Williams Representative said that currently there are about 1 million Zambians who are able to live with the virus because of medical breakthroughs such as the Antiretroviral (ARVs) drug.
She added that the United States Government has invested US$4 billion in the Zambian nationwide response, including US$ 421 million this fiscal year, which demonstrates how committed Zambians are to fighting HIV and AIDS.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Kennedy Malama, who was speaking on behalf of Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya, said that there is a need for Zambians to pay attention to men in their communities who seek health services before it is too late.
He noted that World AIDS Day is a reminder that HIV has not gone away, and still remains a major cause of social and economic challenges.
Mr Malama further added that measures have been put that will ensure that every citizen of Zambia will have access to the necessary medication that they require.