Mansa, February 14, 2015, ZANIS – Government has reiterated its commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Luapula Province.
The government has since implored stakeholders in the fight to unite in the implementation of various interventions.
Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Boniface Chimbwali has called on the Ministry of Agriculture to work closely with the National AIDS Council (NAC) Officials in the Province in the provision of better nutrition which was critical in fighting the scourge.
He made the call when National AIDS Council officials paid a courtesy call on him at his office yesterday.
Mr Chimbwali said Government was committed to fighting the scourge because it negatively affected developmental projects and programmes at every level.
He said he was interested to learn from the NAC officials in the province about what programmes were currently in place in addressing the scourge.
The newly appointed PS said his office was open to an enhanced collaboration with all the stakeholders who were carrying out various interventions aimed at addressing the negative effects of the scourge in the province.
He said he was looking forward to a situation where programmes tailored to address the scourge were properly managed so that HIV/AIDS could be contained in the province despite it being a menace not only at district, provincial and national levels but global.
Mr Chimbwali said he wanted to appreciate the extent of the problem in the province and areas that would need both support and leadership from his office.
He said Government was committed to fighting the scourge and doors to his office will remain open because HIV/AIDS can only be fought by putting up a united front.
And National AIDS Council Representative Polson Kabanze said he was in the Province to give guidance on the latest release of funds from the global fund to carry out HIV/AIDS programmes in Chienge, Milenge and Kawambwa where nine candidates were shortlisted for the position of District AIDS Advisers and only three were to be picked for the task for the three funded districts.
He said the HIV/AIDS programmes in the Province were facing a serious transport challenge because donors had lost confidence and receipts for carrying out planned activities had dwindled over time.
He said the Council was slowly regaining the lost confidence but the situation outlook was not favourable yet.
“We have a challenge of servicing vehicles because funds are limited to service them regularly,” he said.
He said HIV/AIDS was a serious scourge that negatively affects developmental programmes and projects.
He expressed optimism at the projection that following the implementation of the decentralization policy in 2016 that all the District AIDS Coordinating Advisers (DACAs) will be under the District Councils because the global Fund releases were ending in this year.
And Luapula Provincial AIDS Adviser Nathan Kabwe said it was of great comfort to see a favourable good will from Government in the inclusion of funds for HIV/AIDS activities in all capital projects awarded to contractors which stood at 10 per cent though access to such funds by HIV/AIDS stakeholders was a challenge.