President Lazarus Chakwera says the goal to eliminate HIV as a public health threat by 2030 is achievable but has warned that Malawi cannot afford to be complacent in the fight against HIV.
The Malawi leader was speaking Tuesday at Mitundu primary school ground in Lilongwe during commemorations marking this year’s World AIDS Day which was held concurrently with International AIDS Candlelight Memorial.
He noted that in 2015 Malawi Government subscribed and committed to the 90:90:90 treatment targets set by UNAIDS and has performed well so far.
“As of June 2020, we were already moving towards achieving the 95:95:95 targets set for the year 2025. It is through these deliberate strides that elimination of HIV as a public health threat by 2030 is achievable but we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Chakwera.
He added that the memorial has over the years played a role of bringing people together to fight the spread of HIV and against stigma towards those who have it.”
On her part, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said as one way of dealing with the many challenges the country face in HIV programming, the ministry has developed the Malawi National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan which has been launched today.
“The Plan will run from 2020 to 2025 and we believe this strategy could be a game-changer. If fully implemented will not only ensure the dramatic reduction of new HIV infections and meet our targets.
“The strategic has focused on combination HIV prevention strategies. In addition to this we have also developed the Guidelines for Clinical provision of Pre – Exposure Prophylaxis which will enable the use of antiretroviral drugs to prevent acquisition of HIV infection among targeted people who are at substantial risk to prevent HIV infection,” she said.
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres, said HIV/AIDS ought to be eliminated.
She said earlier surveys indicate that Malawians need universal health access which is not possible without addressing HIV/AIDS.
“If we want to address HIV/AIDS we need to stop sexual violence against women and girls. Tackling HIV/AIDS should not be left to Government only. It requires the whole society to join hands against the epidemic therefore local solutions in combating the epidemic are welcome if they help to accelerate its elimination by 2030,” said Torres.
The first HIV case in Malawi was registered 1985. Since then Malawi has been implementing several strategies as one way of combating the epidemic. The World AIDS Day was set aside in 1988 as one way of bringing us together in the fight against HIV.