Tanzania adopts science-driven methods to fight AIDS

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - Health authorities in Tanzania intend to shift to a more targeted, science-driven approach that will maximize resources allocated to combat HIV/AIDS, a senior government official said here Thursday.

"Interventions which have higher returns in combating HIV and AIDS will be the priority focus and we will strategize on areas that can improve efficiency and effectiveness," Dr. Fatima Mrisho, Executive Chair of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), said at a one-day forum that discussed the evolving landscape of HIV/AIDS programmes in the East African country.

According to Mrisho, Tanzania would use an investment framework that is being developed by the government in collaboration with UNAIDS, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as a method of evaluating national strategies.

With the investment framework, she said, the government of Tanzania could maximize resources allocated to HIV/AIDS and focus on high-priority areas.

She said that on the basis of the investment framework, Tanzania would ultimately design and carry out its next national multi-sectoral strategic framework for combating the disease.

Meanwhile, three studies are in the pipeline to evaluate HIV/AIDS control programmes and improve coordination between partners.  

“The progress we have seen with the American people working together with PEPFAR partners breeds optimism for Tanzania's future. The success we’ve achieved so far gives us hope that we can achieve an AIDS-free generation in Tanzania," said US Ambassador Alfosno E. Lenhardt.  

Since the inception of PEPFAR in 2003, the US has committed US$1.9 billion through the programme in Tanzania to support life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for more than 300,000 men, women and children, and provide care and support for more than 1.2 million Tanzanians, including more than 360,000 orphans and vulnerable children.

From 22-27 July 2012, an estimated 20,000 scientists, policy makers, health workers, and people affected by HIV gathered in Washington DC for the 19th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) to examine where the world stands in its response to AIDS and consider how to collectively chart the way forward.

Both the international conference and Tanzania’s local forum offered valuable opportunities for open discussion on the next steps to take in the fight against HIV/AIDS, participants told PANA here.

Ambassador Lenhardt, who attended the Washington conference, said it discussed how the world would find the resources needed to end the epidemic and how countries would increase their commitment to the AIDS response.

Over the past decade, the global AIDS landscape has been transformed through the leadership of the United States, through PEPFAR and support for the Global Fund.

Lenhardt further observed that in developing countries worldwide, over six million people are alive and well, enjoying healthy and productive lives because they get the antiretroviral treatment they need to stay alive.

“New HIV infections have dropped sharply over the past decade. Today, countries that were once devastated by the epidemic have experienced a dramatic decline in new infections.  

“In Africa, 22 countries have seen a drop in new infections of 25 percent or more, including Tanzania which has dropped from an estimated 7.1 percent in 2003, to an estimated 5.7 percent today.  

“We must work together to increase our efforts, recognizing that the fight against AIDS is a shared responsibility in which all countries must play their part.  Progress toward country ownership of AIDS programmes is essential for gains to be sustainable for the long term,” he said.
-0- PANA AR/SEG 2Aug2012

02 august 2012 09:06:07




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