First Lady Esther Lungu says every Zambian should be concerned with the elimination of HIV and AIDS by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mrs Lungu noted that it was not far-fetched to conclude that almost every family in the country had lost a member to AIDS, and as such it was the duty of all well- meaning Zambians to participate in efforts aimed at eliminating AIDS.
The First Lady urged all citizens to come on board and consolidate their efforts in ending the global epidemic.
Mrs. Lungu said this to journalists in Livingstone on Tuesday ahead of the launch of the ‘Zambia Ending AIDS’ and ‘Free to Shine’ Campaign set for this Thursday at the Livingstone Golf Club.
The First Lady will be joined by her counterparts from Botswana and Mozambique, Neo Masisi and Mrs Isaura Nyusi respectively.
“We want as African First Ladies, to roll out the program because it affects all of us, not just Africa is affected; HIV and AIDS is a global epidemic. We want this to be tackled left, right and centre, this is why we are here in Livingstone,” she said.
Mrs. Lungu said the launch of the two campaigns would be beneficial for Zambia as they shared a common goal of fighting HIV and AIDS.
Earlier, Southern Province Permanent Secretary Mwangala Liomba said the fight against HIV and AIDS was started way back but was not close to being won due to various challenges.
Mr. Liomba said one million, two hundred thousand Zambians (1.2 million Zambians) were living with HIV and this signified that there were gaps in interventions aimed at curbing the scourge.
And National HIV Treatment and Care Commitment Professor Lloyd Mulenga said the HIV burden in Zambia was still high with 998,000 people on Anti-Retroviral Therapy, and 200,000 yet to be treated for HIV.
The ‘Free to Shine’ Campaign is an initiative of the wives of African Heads of State and Governments who have pledged commitment to end Child AIDS and keeping Mothers alive towards the global goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
The campaign theme is “Transforming Africa through prioritizing children, adolescents and mothers in the fight against HIV.”