Authorities in Nsanje have expressed satisfaction with the progress made in achieving the National Strategic Development Plan which aims at achieving 90 per cent of the population to know their HIV status, 90 per cent of those diagnosed HIV positive to receive antiretroviral therapy while 90 per cent of those receiving antiretroviral therapy to have their viral load suppressed by 2020.
District Aids Coordinator for Nsanje (DAC), Macknowledge Tembo, made the acknowledgment on Monday during the district’s Candle Light commemoration, saying the district is performing well as it has reached about 76 per cent of all targets.
Tembo noted that by the year 2020, Nsanje District would have achieved the 90-90-90 target.
“So far, from 2015 we have managed to diagnose 76 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS and 76 per cent also of those on antiretroviral treatment have had their viral load suppressed, which is a great achievement which has given us confidence that before 2020, our district will beat the target since we are only left with about per cent 14 per cent,” Tembo said.
However, Tembo said the district was not completely satisfied with the results, saying inadequate resources are stifling the process despite the district having a number of partners implementing various HIV- related activities.
Tembo, therefore, urged all partners within and outside the district to understand their role at the district council and support different interventions for improved service delivery which would translate into achieving the global target.
Nsanje District Commissioner, Reinghard Chavula concurred with Tembo, saying the district has made some strides in HIV/AIDS related issues, particularly in ending harmful cultural practices which the district has been grappling with for a long time.
Chavula, therefore, advised traditional leaders in the district to discourage their subjects from indulging in harmful cultural practices since there were still some people who pretend to have stopped such malpractices in public while continuing the practice behind the scenes.
She also asked parents to be more responsible over their children by discussing with them openly on issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS like encouraging them to undergo voluntary testing and counseling and not forcing the girl child into marriage.
“Let me also ask all stakeholders like politicians and religious leaders to take advantage of gatherings they hold to share HIV/AIDS messages so that Nsanje can be HIV/AIDS free by 2030,” she urged.