THE Amref Health Africa-Tanzania has officially launched “Afya Kamilifu’ project in Mara Region, whose objectives are, among others, preventing new HIV transmissions.
The project, which is sponsored by the US government through Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also offers Covid-19 vaccinations to people living with HIV/AIDS and health service providers.
A five-year project (since 2018) has been implemented in Tanga, Simiyu, Mara na Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba) and is set to benefit 166,767 people, by September 2023, said the Amref-Tanzania Country Director, Ms Florence Temu, during the launching ceremony in Mara, on Monday.
“But in Mara, the project kicked off last year and we are today officially launching it, wherein Amref and the Regional Administrative Secretary office has signed the 5.2bn/- contract,” she said.
According to her, various interventions on HIV/AIDS have been implemented through ‘Afya Kamilifu’, to speed up the achievement of 95-95-95 goal by 2025.
She clarified that the goal means that 95 per cent of people living with HIV should test and come across of their health status, 95 per cent of those who diagnosed with the disease to be on virus suppression antiretroviral (ARVS) treatment and 95 of those on ARVs to be already suppressed the virus, by 2025.
In totality, a total of 154,250 people living with HIV have been reached so far (Tanga, Simiyu Mara and Zanzibar), with 100 per cent being on ARVs treatment and 137,270 (89 per cent) being already suppressed the virus, according to Dr Temu.
The Rorya District Commissioner (DC), Mr Juma Chikoka, said that male circumcision is among earmarked activities to prioritize through the project, due high HIV transmission rate (in Rorya) which has reached six per cent, compared to other districts of Mara.
He expressed his gratitude to stakeholders, including Amref and CDC, who back up government’ efforts towards fighting the HIV new infections through the project, including provision of self HIV test kits.
The Project Director, Dr Edwin Kilimba, said HIV self-test kits were available at all health centres in the region. He urged the people to bring back the test results to service providers for records and immediate start of ARVs to those who proved positive.
He at the same time commended the positive response to males who have been showing up for circumcision; saying about 92 per cent of the annual project target has already been met so far.
“We therefore expect to go beyond the target before end of this first year of the project in Mara. Circumcision is part of mobile services offered in this project,” he said.
Article first published on Daily News, Tanzania.