OVER 41,300 babies were born between September 2012 and 2018 free from HIV infections despite their mothers testing HIV positive

The babies were born in four regions where Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative (AGPAHI) executes its programmes.

Tanzania Commission for Aids (TACAIDS) Executive Director Dr Leonard Maboko, presiding over the launch of AGPAHI 2018/2022 strategic plan in Dar es Salaam yesterday, appreciated the organisation's splendid work.

He said AGPAHI has performed impressive works in Mwanza, Mara, Simiyu and Shinyanga regions, adding that Tanzania is determined to see its citizens especially mothers managing the scourge.

Dr Maboko hinted that AGPAHI strategy was in line with the government and global plan to minimise the scourge to zero per cent, singling out UNAIDS as also their best partner and financier in the goal.

Appealing to the NGO to sustain and continue with the drive if possible countrywide, the Executive Director said stigma against People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) remains prevalent and should be the major focus. "Out of women who have been pregnant in the past 12 months, 92 per cent know their serostatuses... I congratulate AGPAHI for the mobilisation, the Ministry of Health, TAMISEMI and other stakeholders for that," further said Dr Maboko.

 

Pointing out that in 2016, about 90 per cent of pregnant and lactating mothers voluntarily tested their serostatus and knew their statuses, where in turn about 98 per cent enrolled in health facilities for ARV cares.

He said that by 2020 any HIV positive person would have enrolled in the health cares.

AGPAHI Executive Director Dr Sekela Mwakyusa appreciated the role of their financiers citing the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), among others in different programmes.

She said the organisation is proud of profound achievements made also in Tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment in the country's mining areas.

"We have made a lot of progress in diagnosing and treating TB patients especially the ones living with HIV/AIDS in Mererani and Kahama, besides currently offering support in 473 facilities, in which 266 are care and treatment facilities and 207 are PMTCT sites in Shinyanga, Simiyu and Mara and Mwanza region," she added.

 

She further hinted that AGPAHI will continue to support the country's Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children to roll out the national care and treatment strategy, by closely working with the Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG) in the supported regions.

UN AIDS Country Director and Representative Dr Leo Zekeng thanked AGPAHI team and its strategies, saying: "What you have pointed out in 41,310 babies being born free from HIV positive diagnosed mothers shows that you are making the impossible to become possible."

He further added that stigma in HIV positive people still requires efforts, saying: "I know adults can be reckless but children born with HIV should not be stigmatised."

Dr Zekeng said the World Health Organisation (WHO) will still continue to support Tanzania in advocacy and funds but the country should also focus on own sustainability.

 

Source: Daily news(31/1/2019)

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