Govt has put premium on health sector – Masebo

Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo says Government has put premium on the health sector to enhance the country’s development agenda.

Ms Masebo explained that this can be evident through the continuous allocation of more resources to improve service delivery in the health sector.

She is hopeful that with increased funding under her ministry, it will contribute to winning the fight against diseases such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, malaria and other infectious and non-communicable diseases in the country.

Ms Masebo said this last night during the 2022 candle light interfaith memorial service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, in Lusaka.

She further disclosed that her ministry will before end of 2022 launch a health plan that will articulate the kind of programmes to persue, including ending HIV/ENDS. 

She called for continued collaboration with various stakeholders in a much more coordinated manner for Zambia to meet its targets of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“One of the biggest concern we have as government is that the country have continued to record more infections of HIV/AIDS, especially among young people,” Ms Masebo stated.

Ms Masebo revealed that 42 percent of new infections are among the young people, adding that 40 percent of young children living with HIV/AIDS are not on treatment.

The Minister noted that this years national theme: Equaliser! Closing the gaps reasonates well with the current times were certain populations are more affected by the epidemic.

She however stated that Zambia has made strides in improving testing, access to treatment and care, resulting in 28 percent reduction of HIV related deaths between 2005 to 2020 and 11 percent reduction from 2020 to 2021.

Ms Masebo alluded the progress to collaborative efforts with the various stakeholders.

National AIDS Council Director General, Connie Osborne disclosed that Zambia is one of the countries most hit, with about 1.3 million people live with HIV.

Dr Osborne noted that even when Zambia has managed to attain the 90-90-90 treatment target to end HIV and AIDS, a lot needs to be done in order to close the existing gaps.

Dr Osborne explained that the picture for children stands at 61 percent for those infected and have their status known, 98 percent of those diagnosed with HIV infection receive some stainable antiretroviral therapy, while 86 percent have viral suppression.

She stressed the need not to leave anyone behind if the the country has s to achieve the 95-95-95 ambitious target in order to prevent new infections.

Dr Osborne stated that even with the availability of drugs and help, people are still dying from the infection.

And giving homily, Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) Board President Sauros Phaika noted the importance that Jesus regards each person without segregating.

Reverend Phaika challenged all to have compassion for others especially those who are infected by HIV and AIDS.He noted that every person deserves a good life, to be in good health hence , the church is a better place to offer pastoral care and offer a touch of compassion.

Reverend Phaika emphasized that that HIV is real, and people should never be judgemental towards those who are infected.

He encouraged everyone to remember that Gods love is the greatest, while asking those living with HIV and AIDS to ensure that they take their medication in an effort to prevent new infections.

Meanwhile, Zambia Interfaith Networking Group Board Director Andrew Mwenda made a call for evaluation from what has been achieved on the state of response towards HIV/ AIDS.

Bishop Mwenda was concerned about the relentless spread of HIV/AIDS among young people which he said show no signs of slowing down if the gaps are not attended to.