More needs to be done for Tanzania and the rest of the world to end the Aids public health threat by 2030, a newly launched global HIV/Aids report shows.
Although Tanzania has had a positive impact in fighting HIV/Aids, the new report reveals that the key populations in the country still lag behind when it comes to testing and treatment.
Launched in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, the new report titled ‘Dangerous inequalities’ shows early testing, prevention and treatment measures have slowed down, hence Aids-related deaths and new HIV/Aids cases are rising.
Available data shows there are over 4.9 million people living with HIV/Aids in Tanzania while only 1.3 million are on treatment.
According to UNAIDS data, Tanzania has over the past ten 10 years consistently reduced new HIV infections and reduced Aids-related deaths by 46.6 percent and 50 percent respectively.
Key populations left behind
Prof Tumaini Nagu, Tanzania’s Chief Medical Officer, noted that although the country has made progress, more needs to be done since with the new report findings, it is evident that some key populations — including adolescence girls — have been left behind.
“50 percent is a good progress but we haven’t really made progress when it comes to adolescent girls, which is actually what our strategic health plan requires us to do. That is why we are currently targeting them together with other groups such as migrants, fisheries, people living in rural areas for we cannot fight the epidemic disease with one-size-fits-all kind of solution,” she said.
On her part, Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids, (UNAIDS), commended Dodoma’s efforts in the fight against HIV/Aids.
“Tanzania is the leader, a strong performer in the fight against this disease. The country has succeeded in reducing new infections by almost 50 percent and successful treatment scale up has led to over 50 percent reduction in the number of Aids-related deaths,” said Ms Byanyima.
New infections rising
“The world is not on track to end the Aids pandemic. New infections are rising and Aids deaths are continuing in too many communities. Inequalities are holding us back,” added Ms Byabyima
The report shows that gender inequalities, inequalities faced by key populations and inequalities between children and adults have had negative impacts on Aids response by countries.
In sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls and young women are three times more likely to get HIV than their male counterparts, according to the report.
“The world will not be able to defeat Aids while reinforcing patriarchy. We need to address the intersecting inequalities women face. The only effective route map to ending Aids, achieving the sustainable development goals and ensuring health, rights and shared prosperity, is a feminist route map. Women’s rights organisations and movements are already on the frontline doing this bold work. Leaders need to support them and learn from them,” added Ms Byabyima