KITWE Mayor Christopher Kang’ombe says there is need for innovative ways against HIV/ AIDS to mitigate its consequences based on the existing evidence .
Speaking when he officiated at the launch of the National HIV Counselling, Testing and Treatment (HCTT) held at Buchi hall , today , the mayor stated that this year’s commemoration is different from the others because it is taking practical steps to link HIV testing to starting of ARV treatment for persons found positive .
Mr. Kang’ombe said the new approach of offering treatment and care immediately after diagnosis allows the country to pursue the United Nations on AIDS .
He said in order to get desired results of the test and treat strategy, a number of personnel has to be trained as well as availability of testing kits , ARVs and other related equipment.
He added that all implementing partners and players must ensure quality and timely data collection to strategies inform decision making.
He said data is needed to show relationship between service delivery and health outcomes , HIV testing and access to treatment and viral load suppression.
The current prevalence rate for the district stands at 12.3 percent.
And Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu said figures of HIV/AIDS in the district are alarming hence there is need to for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to help eradicate the disease.
Mr. Mpundu said government is committed to improving the delivery of health care services through the strengthening of linkages between HIV testing and counselling services and ART distribution centers through effective health programmes.
He added that government has accelerated the HIV response towards ending Aids epidemic by 2030 by ensuring that distance to health facilities is brought closer to the households.
Mr. Mpundu said that the moving from VCT to HCTT day is a strategy that can assist to significantly reduce new infections and advance towards ending AIDS by 2030.
He expressed sadness that young people in the district have however continued to be at risk of contracting the disease despite various interventions by government and the stakeholders.