Tanzania reports success on HIV/AIDS control

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- An official of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in Tanzania has expressed optimism over the decline OF HIV/AIDS in some parts of the country.
The number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in some regions have drastically decreased, giving hope that the scourge may be under control, NACP programme manager Roland Swai said Friday.
Swai said in the worse hit western and south-western regions of Kagera and Mbeya, the number of pregnant women with the HIV virus that causes AIDS has dropped, while the ratio of one HIV carrier per 10 adult persons at national level remains the same.
In the western Kagera region, where the first AIDS case was detected in 1983, the number of pregnant women with the HIV virus fell from 20 percent to 11 percent between 1994 and 1999, Swai said.
Similarly, in the south-western Mbeya region, the figure went down from 20 percent to 15 percent during the period under review.
"People's awareness on the destructive effects of the disease and the national anti-HIV/AIDS crusade have led to this success," the NACP official said.
Tanzania is one of the sub-Saharan African countries that is seriously hit by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures.
The East African country has 600,000 AIDS sufferers and two million people infected with HIV.
It is also estimated that 10 percent of the country's more than 30 million people - mostly youth between 19 years and 49 years - have been infected with the deadly virus.
According to Swai, in an effort to check the spread of HIV/AIDS, the government plans to build two modern laboratories in Dar es Salaam and Mbeya to conduct research on the HIV/AIDS vaccine.
The UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) blames the Tanzanian leadership, particularly at the grassroots level, for not being effective in the battle against the disease.
It notes that while President Benjamin Mkapa stands out as an anti-HIV/AIDS crusader, vigorous leadership at lower levels of society was lacking.

20 july 2001 15:45:00

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