By Lumbiwe Mwanza
National AIDS Council Director General Dr. Victor Mukonka has acknowledged that Zambia needs to strengthen HIV preventive programs among the key population.
Dr. Mukonka says denying that Zambia has no injecting drug users, sex workers as well as men that sleep with men will not help control the HIV epidemic.
“It is critical that we begin to strengthen HIV preventive programs among the key population or the fight against the epidemic will continue being undermined” Dr Mukonka said.
Mr Mukonka said the need to provide strong leaderships and adequate financing for HIV prevention in order to leave no one behind remains critical.
He further observed that the poor distribution of condoms across the county has continued to undermine the efforts aimed at ending HIV transmissions.
Dr Mukonka disclosed that in 2014 condom distribution was at 74 million however the rate has reduced to 62 million in 2018.
“The fight against the HIV epidemic requires us to ensure that all preventive tools and information reach the people especially those at high risk of contracting the virus.
Meanwhile UNAIDS out going country director; Dr Medhin Tsehaiu emphasized that building an inclusive environment will help end the threat of HIV and aids as a public health issue by 2030.
“Controlling the HIV epidemic by 2020 calls for consented effort as it is not government’s responsibility alone”. Dr Medhin said.
However she has noted that despite challenges faced towards the elimination of HIV, Zambia is among the African countries promoting all possible preventive measures.
Meanwhile Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Administration Kakulubelwa Mulaleo assured that interventions aimed at strengthening stakeholder collaborations in the fight against HIV will continue being put in place.