‘1.7 million people living with HIV in Tanzania as of 2019’

22Jan 2022
James Kandoya
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
‘1.7 million people living with HIV in Tanzania as of 2019’

THE government is working to ensure that all people who are currently unaware that they are living with HIV/AIDS, get tested, know their status, and begin lifesaving treatment.

Ummy Mwalimu.

Ummy Mwalimu, Minister for Health said this yesterday in Dar es Salaam at the official launching of the symposium and the strategic plan for Africa academy for public health (AAPH) 2022-2026.

Mwalimu said Tanzania is currently estimated to have 1.7 million people who are living with HIV/AIDS, out of those 1.5 million people know their status and are taking the lifesaving treatment.

 According to her, there are 200,000 people who are currently living with HIV/AIDS in the country but they are unaware of it.

She said the government plan was to see all people know their status and get treated to avoid new infections, especially in young generations.

“We want to see all 200,000, people, ‘missed cases’ are reached, tested and start using the Antiretroviral Treatment (ARVs). This will support the government’s efforts to eradicate the disease and fight spread of new infections,” she said.

She acknowledged the U.S government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for implementing various programs and being key players in improving delivery of quality HIV services in Tanzania.

She said by 2019 over 83 percent of Tanzanians living with HIV had been identified, 90 percent were on Antiretroviral Treatment, among which 92 percent achieved viral suppression.

Mwalimu said tremendous results were contributed to by the training of healthcare personnel in clinical practises, development and equipping of facilities like laboratories, as well as support in establishing guidelines for quality assurance in provision of HIV care.

She said despite the success, there were opportunities to improve the health sector as a whole by identifying training needs in quality service provision and implementation of science research; addressing the provider – patient ratio in healthcare facilities; and building capacity for the currently serving healthcare professionals.

“The government is committed to further collaborating with local and international partners in addressing the remaining challenges in the healthcare system,” she said.

Mwalimu added: “We welcome further collaboration with AAPH, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science (MUHAS) and Harvard University as well as other partners on improving the health of the Tanzanian population as we strive to realise the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Dr Mary Sando, APPH chief executive officer (CEO) said the 2nd strategic plan was launched covering between 2022-2026.

The symposium will provide an opportunity for the public health experts where local and international scientists in the health sectors, development partners and government agencies to discuss priority public health field, and iron challenges.

The strategy also aims at improving the organisation and streamlined priority interventions to best serve the clients-the community.

Dr Sando said the goals set include; improve health systems through training and provision of technical support, promote health systems research, innovation, and use of evidence improving the health and wellbeing of the people in Tanzania.

US Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Donald Wright expressed his government commitment to continue supporting Tanzania in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

“Our commitment to the government of Tanzania is to continue supporting Tanzanians through PEPFAR to ensure there was enough viral suppression,” he said.