Chiteme calls for sustainable financing to HIV fight

By Staff Reporter

GOVERNMENT says there is need to find sustainable financing for the fight against HIV, broaden research and reduce stigma of those affected by the virus.

National development planning minister Alexander Chiteme told Spring Meetings delegates in Washington DC that the Zambian government was calling for sustainable financing to reduce the huge economic impact of HIV on developing countries, increasing research to find the cure, reducing stigma and scaling-up support to rural communities.

According to a press statement issued by Ministry of National Development Planning spokesperson Chibaula Silwamba yesterday, Chiteme was speaking at the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the Fund’s Headquarters in Washington DC, USA when he participated in the high-level meeting on economic impact of HIV spending and joint efforts to plan for a sustainable HIV response.

The minister called for concerted efforts to broaden research into finding the cure to diseases and addressing disparities in the provision of support to people living with HIV/AIDS in urban and rural areas.

He noted that Zambia had made substantial progress in the response to HIV and AIDS.

“More than four million people access HIV counselling and testing services annually and over 75 per cent of people living with HIV are on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment. Estimated annual new infections among adults aged 15+ continue to decline from 67,000 in 2009 to 43,000 in 2018, while those for children aged 0-14 years declined from 23,000 to 8,700,” Chiteme told the delegates.

“Annual AIDS-related deaths have decreased from 69,000 in 2002 to 19,000 in 2018. By the end of 2018, more than 2,900 health facilities countrywide were providing HIV testing and counselling services while the number of ART (anti-retroviral therapy) sites increased to more than 1,000 sites across the country from 509 in 2011.”

The minister explained that Zambia had already started initiating sustainability measures through the introduction of a number of domestic resource mobilisation initiatives and enhancing the country’s public finance management framework.

“I want to assure you that government will continue to develop mechanisms for its long-term sustainability of the HIV response in Zambia,” promised Chiteme.

“Zambia will embrace the National AIDS Spending Assessment (NASA) principles to ensure that we are making right decisions in the allocation of resources for the HIV response.”

And Chiteme thanked the US’ President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for its support to Zambia.

PEPFAR is the US’ government’s response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history.

The US government’s Department of the Treasury organised the high-level meeting at this year’s Spring Meetings.