Health experts team up to halt Aids spread in Tanzania

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- In a bid to beef up government efforts to halt the spread of Aids in Tanzania, the country's health experts have launched a two-year advocacy campaign.
Their main goal is to do away with the stigma and discrimination problems associated with HIV/Aids infection.
Under the Tanzania Aids Society, health experts hope to fight myths and misconceptions surrounding the disease which lead to discrimination and denial of care and support by the community to people living with the deadly virus.
"Our major task is to ensure that Tanzanians get correct information about this global pandemic.
"We want to remove the misconceptions that HIV/Aids victims are people who have been cursed by God," Professor Fred Mhalu, president of the society, told PANA Monday.
In order to create more public awareness of the devastating effects of Aids, Mhalu said his association intends to analyse the national and sectoral policies and assess their adequacy in addressing the problem.
Some Tanzanian health experts have noted with concern that the country has not adequately applied interventions that have proved effective elsewhere to combat the spread of HIV/Aids.
Such measures as voluntary HIV conselling, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, promotion of condom use or peer Aids education are inadequate in the country, they say.
"What we intend to do is to advocate for increased resource allocation by government and other partners in a bid to trim down the number of Aids cases.
It's a big task but we can't shun this responsibility," said Dr Bernett Fimbo of the National Aids Control Programme.
The newly-launched society will also undertake research on an HIV vaccine, advocacy for access to quality care and treatment of people living with the Aids virus.
According to official figures, Tanzania has over 1.
7 million people infected with HIV.
The figure represents only people who report to medical facilities.
HIV-infected patients and full-blown Aids cases admitted to Tanzania's urban hospitals have reached 50 percent of total admissions, said Health Minister Anna Abdallah.
On the economic front, the disease has cut down 10 percent of the country's labour force, aged between 18 and 49 years.
Tanzania's NACP estimates 60 percent of TB sufferers have also been infected with HIV.

02 july 2001 21:13:00




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