National Aids Commission (NAC) has called upon the Central Government to channel more resources towards interventions that aim at fighting HIV and AIDS in the country.
The interventions include HIV and Aids research, provision of health services to people living positively with HIV and Aids as well as inclusion of all groups -minority and majority- of people in the fight.
NAC Board Chairperson Dr Chipo Kanjo said Aids fight requires more resources for the country to win the battle against the disease.
She was speaking this on Tuesday during the opening of a two day 2023 HIV and AIDS Research and Best Practices Dissemination Conference taking place at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC), in Lilongwe.
She said activities that researchers do in the health sector especially on HIV/AIDS are essential as they help stakeholders with latest ways and approach towards the fight, hence they need to be supported.
“I would like to call upon all the stakeholders including the Ministry of health, Civil society, our parliamentary committee on health, HIV/AIDS and Nutrition to continue lobbying government to progressively increase the proportion of the annual national budget towards the health sector to meet the 15% target in line with the Abuja Declaration,” says Dr. Kanjo arguing that meeting will go a long way towards availing additional resources on research and the HIV/AIDS national response.
She then applauded all researchers for their tremendous contribution to the HIV/AIDS body of knowledge before encouraging them to venture into researching and experimenting on best practices that will inform the smooth delivery of the HIV/AIDS national response in the face of emerging diseases, natural disasters and inequalities.
In his remarks, secretary for heath, Dr Samson Mndolo who was also the guest of honor, acknowledged the need for more resources in the fight against the HIV pandemic if the war against it is to be won.
He said the ministry of health takes research as priority and to generate high quality evidence to inform health development, “health research is one of the pillars of the national health sector strategic plan.”
Dr Mndolo said, “as a result of joint efforts in implementing interventions that are informed by evidence from research, the country has achieved significant milestones in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”
He added, “for example we have witnessed a 73% reduction in annual new HIV infections, from 56 000 in 2010 to 15 000 in 2022; a 65% reduction in annual AIDS related deaths , from 32,000 in the year 2010 to 11 000 in 2022; and a decrease in adult HIV prevalence (aged 15 and above) from 10.6% to 7.7% between 2010 and 2022 and by March this year, we had achieved a commendable 94:99:94 performance with respect to the 95:95:95 UNAIDS treatment targets, adding that this is a good performance and we should maintain towards the achievement of our national goal of ending AIDS as a public thereat by the year 2030”.
Reacting to the same, a representative of the Civil Society Organizations who is also a Heath activist Maziko Matemba, reiterated the call saying as a country should not only depend on donors to fund the interventions aimed at ending the HIV pandemic.
Matemba said most countries have already been affected by different contemporary challenges such as natural disasters, hence the need for the country to pump more resources in the fight against the HIV pandemic without depending on other countries.
The conference, which brought together delegates from various councils, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) among others, is being held under the theme “Leveraging Evidence from Research and Best Practices to sustain the HIV and AIDS Response in a Low Resource Setting”.