UPND Demands Immediate Ordering of HIV Test Kits
Zambia has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. 1.3 Million Zambians are living with HIV and all of us are, in one way or another, affected by HIV.
One of the most reliable methods in HIV prevention is testing. There are a lot of people who do not yet know their HIV status. Testing is very important. Those that test negative are likely to adopt a lifestyle that will prevent them from contracting HIV, while those that test positive will be referred for appropriate services and treatment.
Prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTC) of HIV entails that all pregnant women are tested for HIV so that in the event that they test positive medication to prevent the unborn baby from contracting HIV can be prescribed. The percentage of babies born with HIV can be as high as 45% in the absence of PMTC intervention, but are almost zero percent when adequate PMTC services are available.
The delivery of expired HIV tests kits to health facilities and the subsequent expiry of 500,000 test kits makes for very sad reading. This Government has put the lives of a lot of people, including unborn babies, at risk. The total monetary loss is in the million of dollars. Someone must be held accountable for this and the buck stops with the President. This HIV test kits story, as sad as it is, exemplifies how the PF Government has mismanaged the economy and the knock on impact this failed management is now having on our broader development prospects, basic service provision and quality of life for the majority of Zambians.
We demand adequate stocks of HIV test kits are ordered as a matter of urgency. We also demand that the President take appropriate action against erring officials. Law enforcement agencies should take interest in this case for evidence of possible criminal negligence.