Sat, 03 Dec 2016 10:27:03 +0000
THE Ndola district health medical team (DHMT) is targeting to circumcise 70,536 males in the ongoing circumcision campaign, district medical officer Dr. Kakungu Simpungwe has disclosed. And Copperbelt permanent secretary Howard Sikwela has called for practical measures to mitigate the prevalence of the HIV pandemic in the province. Commemorating the World Aids Day in Ndola on Thursday, Rev Sikwela, in a speech read on his behalf by Ndola district administration officer Taphen Mulongo, said Zambians should increase preventive measures against the scourge.
Rev Sikwela said it was important for Ndola to maintain its HIV/AIDS statistics but that the prevalence still needed concerted efforts to reach the Vision 2030 and attain zero infections. Rev Sikwela urged the District Aids Task Force (DATF) team in Ndola to analyse the current trends in the district of having maintained the prevalence at 23 percent and send reports to the responsible offices.
He emphasized that figures should not only be publicized during the AIDS day commemoration but should be made available periodically. Re Sikwela also encouraged DATF to take advantage of its HIV/AIDS component in the decentralization policy being implemented countrywide in implementing its HIV/AIDS programmes. He expressed sadness that some institutions to date have no policy to deal with HIV/Aids in work places. “We all know that if one is not infected, then they are affected in one way or the other. It is not acceptable that some companies have shunned such policies given the fact that the pandemic has not spared any Zambian,” Rev Sikwela said.
He said HIV/AIDS was altering the structure of the country’s labour force, thereby negatively impacting on the functioning of the productive sectors by limiting productivity and supply services. Rev Sikwela said the pandemic had reduced household incomes as well as the optimal national economic growth rate which was necessary for overall national development. He said Government was committed to continue taking a lead in the fight against the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Dr. Simpugwe said that 1,329 pregnant women tested positive for HIV as October 2016 while 47,027 adults and 3,320 children were accessing anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). Dr. Simpugwe said the Ministry of Health had been making efforts to capture and initiate more children on ARV treatment which included testing campaigns targeted at children, follow up on defaulting patients as well as routine test for the virus of all children admitted to Arthur Davison Children Hospital. Dr. Simpugwe also disclosed that from 2009 when the district commenced conducting male circumcision, a total of 65,328 males have been circumcised.