UNICEF assures support to scale up of HIV  prevention 

18Apr 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
UNICEF assures support to scale up of HIV  prevention 

THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has assured its continued support to Tanzanian government in scaling up comprehensive HIV prevention programmes with a specific focus of sensitizing and reaching more youthful boys and girls with education and testing to fight new infections.

The Fund’s Chief of the HIV and AIDS, Ulrike Gilbert Nandra made the commitment in Dar es Salaam during the annual national adolescence girls and young women stakeholders’ meeting.

Organised by the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), the meeting was for among others to discuss how best stakeholders would prevent adolescence and young women from engaging in activities/ behaviors that may endanger their health and development.

She said the Fund’s overall emphasis was on reaching the most deprived and vulnerable adolescence and young people with HIV/AIDS education.

“Indeed, to bring about positive change and promote the national development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, there are two critical periods in a child’s life which we need to set a closer eye on. The first is during the early years of a child’s life; the second is the adolescence period when girls and boys are at the age of between 10 and 19 years growing up to become adults,” she said, stressing that:

Adolescence is a special period of life that is characterized by increased vulnerabilities and specific needs. In Tanzania, there are currently 12 million adolescences- one fourth of the population, and it is projected that the figure will grow to nearly 30 million by 2050.

For his part, the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) acting director general, Jumanne Isango commented that adolescence girls and young women are among of the major victims of the social and economic impacts, which push them to engage in activities that may endanger their health and developments in totality.

He said that the available data shows that compared to other groups, adolescence girls and young women live in poor condition to extent that they cannot cope with the challenges around them due to lack of specific policies for empowerment, cultural and traditional barriers, gender inequality, biological nature as well as systematic challenges that prevent them from achieving their goals in one way or another.

“In order of overcome these challenges, this meeting’s objectives are for among others, to identify areas which can reach various groups in the implementations of the interventions to fight against HIV impacts, including adolescent girls, young women as well as their partners,” he said.

Executive Secretary of National economic Empowerment Council (NEEC), Beng’i Issa who represented the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, said that HIV continues to be economical a threat and the national development.

“According to HIV National Indicators Survey of 2016/17, Tanzania has a total of 12 million youth, aged between 10 to 19, equal to 24 per cent, and five million aged between 20 and 24, equal to 31 per cent of the total Tanzanian population. The study shows that new HIV infections increased significantly for a group of young people aged 10 to 24, which is 40 percent and between them, 80 per cent is for girls aged 15 to 19,” she said. 

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