LUAPULA Province Permanent Secretary Charles Mushota has called for unity among stakeholders implementing evidence based HIV/AIDS interventions in the drive to attain an AIDS free generation.
Speaking during the launch of the National HIV testing Counselling and treatment Day, Eng. Mushota said out of 1,3milion Zambians who are HIV positive, Luapula Province has 51,211 people who are infected with the disease.
The Provincial Permanent Secretary noted that out of that number of persons infected in Luapula, only about 43,000 have been put on treatment.
“A total of 7,969 though tested positive have not been put on treatment. This is worrisome to the HIV response because these are now acting as a reservoir for re-infections and a hindrance to ending AIDS by 2030,” he said.
Eng. Mushota explained that Peoples’ attitude and practice of testing, counselling and treatment should not stop even in light of COVID-19 pandemic as long as the new health guidelines are followed.
He noted that testing is the gateway to HIV prevention, treatment, care and other support services.
The Permanent Secretary said people’s knowledge of their HIV status is crucial to the national response so as to bring the HIV epidemic under control.
Eng. Mushota encouraged all those that have tested positive and are not yet on treatment to visit their nearest health facility for immediate treatment commencement.
And in a vote of thanks read on his behalf by Dr. Josephine Sulu, Luapula Provincial Health Director Dr. Peter Bwalya has hailed the immense support from the Luapula Provincial Administration and health collaborating partners in Luapula.
“We are thankful to our co-operating partners and the Provincial Administration for their support in seeing to it that we are on course with regards to making our HIV health support services readily available and closer to the people,” he said.
Dr. Bwalya said through concerted efforts and support, the province will be better placed to implement the HIV test, counselling and treatment goals so as to reduce infections in the Province.