PLWHA in Tabora pleas for more care, treatment centres

27Jun 2020
The Guardian
PLWHA in Tabora pleas for more care, treatment centres

SOME of the people living with HIV/Aids in Urambo District, Tabora Region have appealed to the government to establish care and treatment centres (CTC) at every health facility to save them from walking for long distances in search of the service.

They raised their concerns on Wednesday during a meeting which was attended by Tabora Regional Commissioner, Aggrey Mwanri. According to them, Urambo was among the districts with limited HIV/Aids care and treatment centres despite the area having over 30,000 people living with the disease.

They said some infected individuals have been failing to timely collect the antiretroviral drugs due to various challenges including geographical positions of the health facilities that offer the services.

Urambo District HIV/Aids Coordinator, Dr Joyce Ongati said there are only ten care and treatment centres located at 31 different health centres. He said that knowing the challenges; they have come with a new system where infected individuals are reached through mobile clinics.

She said plans are to increase the number of CTC from the current 10 to 20, insisting to also continue using the mobile clinics to reach those in rural interior places.

Tabora Regional Commissioner, Aggrey Mwanri said the government continues to improve health services whereas it has constructed dispensaries, health centres and a district hospital. He said the government has also distributed drugs to all the health facilities.

He however called upon the residents to build a culture of checking their health status frequently as well as doing physical exercises to prevent their bodies against non-communicable diseases.

In April this year, Special Seats legislator, Lucy Owenya (Chadema) tabled in the national Assembly a private motion requiring the government to offer free medical services to people living with HIV/Aids.

Owenya claimed that the disease has so far killed a good number of people thus reducing the country’s workforce. She said providing free medical care to people living with HIV/Aids will save lives as well as enable thousands to achieve their life dreams.

The MP noted that despite the fact that the government is offering the life prolonging drugs (ARVs) for free; people who are infected with the disease are also exposed to a number of several other diseases due to poor immune system.

She said in 2018, there were 1.6 people living with HIV/Aids while the infection rate was 4.6 percent to those aged between 15 and 49 years. In the year, the number of new infections reached 72,000 while deaths were 24,000.

In the same period, the number of people who were using the life prolonging drugs (ARVs) accounted for 72 percent of all the infected individuals.

Under the 90-90-90 campaign which aims at ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030, the government wants 90 percent of all the people living with HIV to know their status, 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV infections to receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 percent of all people receiving ARVs to have viral suppression.

Tanzania has 1.4 million people affected by HIV and the government wants 90-percent of the country’s population to know their status, whereas currently it is only 62 percent who know their status.

It is estimated that over 3000 patients died in sub Saharan Africa on a daily basis due to HIV in 2015. Ten countries in Africa carry 80 per cent of the total HIV burden, namely South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia.