I will not stop: First Lady
First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa has vowed to continue championing programmes aimed at reducing the burden of HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe.
Speaking during the handover ceremony of 10 SAMBA II point-of-care machines for HIV early infant diagnosis and therapy monitoring at Parirenyatwa’s Mbuya Nehanda Maternity wing yesterday, Amai Mnangagwa said she will not stop until the nation achieves an AIDS-free generation by 2030.
The 10 SAMBA II point-of-care machines were donated by Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW).
“Zimbabwe has an estimated 1.3 million people living with HIV and about 5.5% are reported to be children under the age of 15 years while women constitute 59%.
“It gives me great pleasure to embark on initiatives that will improve the lives and livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe.
“I say this to those, who are underserved and most in need, the marginalised and those at high risk of disease and deaths such as women and children, people with disabilities, adolescent girls and those living with HIV/AIDS.
“Although poverty remains a challenge which has stalled efforts in combating HIV/AIDS, the Government continues to fight this threat by scaling up HIV prevention, care and treatment services.
“An early HIV diagnosis in infants is lifesaving as, without any antiretroviral treatment, 30% of HIV positive children will be dead by the age of one year.
“To support all these efforts by the Ministry of Health and Child Care,I will continue championing programmes aimed at reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe.
“I will continue with advocacy to ensure people get access to HIV/AIDS treatment and curb new infections among children, adolescents and adults.
“Remote areas with disadvantaged and marginalised groups remain fatal ground for HIV transmission and I will continue to tab this in conjunction with traditional chiefs and church leaders,” she said.
Amai Mnangagwa said the country had scaled up efforts in the prevention of mother to child transmission.
“Zimbabwe has scaled up efforts in the prevention of mother to child transmission on HIV, PMTCT and this has produced results which have seen the transmission rate declining from 21% in 2010 to 6.74% in 2017.
“In a visible show of commitment towards attaining an AIDS-free generation of children, the Ministry of Health and Child Care developed a five-year plan of elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
“For Zimbabwe, it was launched on November 30, 2017, during commemorations for the World AIDS Day.
“Zim remains on track to achieve an AIDS-free generation by 2030 and I would like to sincerely acknowledge the support of funding including Global Fund, UNAIDS and other agencies.”
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