Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya, says Zambia is making steady progress with attaining HIV epidemic control.
Dr. Chilufya says the country has been pursuing the epidemic control of HIV as well as fighting to stop HIV infections by encouraging treatment which has been supported by the United States government and the Zambian government.
The Minister was speaking in Lusaka this morning, during the announcement of the 2020 HIV/AIDS 421 million United States Dollar American funding, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in support of the joint goal of reaching the HIV epidemic control in Zambia by 2020.
Dr. Chilufya noted that in 2003, Zambia had 3,500 people living with HIV but with close to a four million investment by the American government, the country is now at 1 million out of the estimated 1. 2 million people living with HIV, which he said is a best way to stop new infections.
And the Minister of Health states that Zambia is also making steady progress towards achieving the UNAIDS targets towards eradicating HIV infections.
Dr. Chilufya has revealed that with support from the American people and the American government, Zambia is now at 84-83-89 towards meeting the 90 -90-90 UNAIDS treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic.
The Minister has since noted that, the funding of the US $421 million by the American government to Zambia represents an increase by US $36 million compared to the funding in the previous year.
Dr. Chilufya, thanked the United States government for the continued support to Zambia’s health sector, saying it demonstrates the warm bilateral relations that exists between the two countries and also the confidence that the American government has in President Edgar Lungu’s commitment to promote good health among the Zambian citizenry.
And United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote, noted that America has over the past 16 years contributed almost 4 billion dollars towards controlling HIV in Zambia which demonstrates the commitment that the American people have towards a strong and healthy Zambia.
Ambassador Foote, called on the Zambian government to allocate more resources to the health sector to address other diseases such as Tuberculosis, malaria and also maternal mortality.
He stated that less than 15 years ago, less than 5,000 Zambians were on anti-retro-viral treatment but today about 2 million Zambians have been captured which has saved a million plus lives.
He added that there is an accomplished change with the HIV landscape in Zambia and a lot of people are more people are living healthier lives.
The U.S Ambassador added that once the epidemic control is achieved, it will be easy for the country to eradicate HIV by 2030.
He was also quick to mention that it is critical that people in Zambia know their HIV status and stick to medication in order to control the epidemic.
The Ambassador made a similar plea to religious leaders, to encourage their congregations, to take the same actions and recognise the commitment that the Zambian government has portrayed towards making progress in achieving HIV epidemic control by 2020.