|Posted by [email protected] on September 1, 2016 at 3:30 PM|
2nd September 2016
Zambia: AIDS Must End by 2030
As the nation awaits determination of the election by the Constitutional court on the petition filed against President- elect, there are issues related to citizen’s health that need to be decided upon. We can no longer afford to continue waiting for the petition when decisions around health are needed NOW!
According to the 2015 HIV estimates from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Zambia, the adult HIV prevalence stands at 12.9%. Out of this there are about 640,000 women aged 15 and over living with HIV, 85,000 children aged 0 to 14 living with HIV, around 20,000 deaths recorded due to AIDS and 380,000 orphans due to AIDS aged between 0 to 17 years old. There is still the need to step up efforts and programs to ensure that people living with HIV (PLHIV) who start treatment continue on treatment so as to avoid drug resistance and opportunistic infections such as TB as well as further spread of HIV. Although 70% of people that have been identified as TB patients are co-infected with HIV, not all that need to be screened for TB have been screened for TB making it critical for Zambia to improve diagnosis for both infections.
According to the Global Fund, 20 million people globally have been initiated on antiretroviral treatment as part of efforts that have saved an estimated 17 million lives since its founding in 2002. In Zambia there are between 1.2 million and 1.3 million Zambians living with HIV, 830,000 people are currently on ART, 91,000 new Tuberculosis smear positive cases have been detected and treated. Furthermore, for Malaria 15,600,000 insecticide treated mosquito nets have been distributed and all this is thanks to the Global Fund. To date there has been a Global Fund investment in Zambia of US$883,850,928. The Global Fund aims to raise US $13 billion to drive its work for the next 3 years, during which time they expect to save a further 8 million lives. The Global Fund is committed to “Ending AIDS by 2030” but this needs serious commitments from everyone especially world leaders. Over the years we have seen and experienced the Global Fund’s efforts in Ending AIDS by 2030, but the Global Fund Must be Fully Funded! Many recipient African countries such as Malawi, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria did make their commitment known during the last Global Fund replenishment. On 16th September 2016, there will be a Pledging Conference that will be held in Montreal, Canada, where world leaders will play their part by making known their pledging commitment to the Global Fund. During the last Replenishment conference, Kenya committed itself by making a pledge of USD $2million and on 26th August 2016, the Kenyan President set the pace for other African leaders by making an announcement that Kenya has pledged USD $5million to the Global Fund’s fifth Replenishment, in a show of clear political will by the Kenyan President.
In a meeting that took place in at the Ministry of Health in December 2014 between Zambian CSOs working around TB, HIV and Malaria led by CITAMplus with Yvonne Chaka Chaka, a distinguished artist, humanitarian, Roll back Malaria and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Good will Ambassador, and the Minister of Health and representatives of the ministry of health, there was an indication by the Minister that Zambia was going to make a pledge to the fifth Replenishment of the Global Fund in 2016. This was very exciting news to us as a constituency of people living with HIV/TB and to everyone affected by TB/HIV and Malaria. However, today the pledge has not been made public. The Pledging Conference will be held in Canada in September this year, we would like to call on the Zambia government to make their pledge and commitment known before the pledging conference.
As frontline activists, we call on the Zambian government to undertake the following:
1. Having been recipients of so much Global Fund support, we call on the Zambian government to make their pledge public. Now is the time because there are so many basic things that we still depend on Global Fund in order to support our people in the communities. However, the Global Fund also needs to be fully funded in order for it to support financial resource constrained countries such as Zambia.
2. It is our concern that as per ministerial speech presented in Parliament that construction of 650 health posts was not completed by April 2016; there has not been any update for these much needed services for our fellow Zambians and we call on the Ministry of Health to make known the current status of the health posts.
3. Much of the Zambian health budget depends on external support. As a country we need to take charge of our people’s health NOW by increasing domestic funding. We have an opportunity to increase domestic funding in that we are soon to have the Minister of Finance present the national budget to Parliament and the Zambian people.
If Zambia is to continue being held as a “ walking the talk nation” then not all is lost as Zambia can still make their commitment to the Global Fund during the upcoming pledging Conference as well as take more control of delivering health to its people by increasing domestic finding. Furthermore, we call on government to exercise political will so that work on the 650 health posts is completed this calendar year.
CITAMplus is an organization that focuses around policy advocacy and citizen led grassroots advocacy among other things. It is a partner of ACTION which is a partnership of locally-rooted organizations around the world that advocate for life-saving care for millions of people that are threatened by preventable diseases.
Issued by Nathan Nhlane
Policy and Advocacy Officer/Grassroots Manager
Phone: +260 968 277 388 /+260 979 220 230/ +260 950 597551
E-mail: [email protected]
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