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Tanzania Launches Plan to End HIV, Viral Hepatitis And STI By 2030

Tanzania has about 1.7 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) and over two million people infected by viral hepatitis B and C.

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Dar es Salaam. The government Friday launched the Integrated Health Sector HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) National Strategic Plan (NSP) to contribute to ending the three epidemics by 2030.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tanzania has about 1.7 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) and over two million people infected by viral hepatitis B and C. 

WHO reports that there is currently limited funding to tackle viral hepatitis in East Africa. Similarly, the United Nations agency notes that STIs are on the increase, and there are also limited resources to diagnose and treat all STIs.  

The newly developed strategy aligns with major national documents, including the Health Sector Strategic Plan V (2021-2026). 

It also falls within the WHO advocacy programme for countries to align programme-specific plans to the National Health Sector plan. The strategy also aligns with the WHO Global HIV, Hepatitis and STIs strategies 2022-2030.

Launching the strategy, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu underscored that the government, in collaboration with stakeholders, has made commendable progress towards achieving its goals in the fight against the HIV virus. 

READ MORE: Zanzibar, WHO Commit to Strengthening Primary Health Care

Mwalimu, who doubles as Tanga Ubarn MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM), said she believes this integration will contribute to the successful management of viral hepatitis and STIs.

“Strategic plans are crucial in programming in health, as they guide the health sector in implementing strategically focused responses,” Mwalimu noted. “This strategic plan comes at a timely hour as it will expedite the integration of HIV with VH and STIs and more broadly within the health delivery system for positive results.”

A statement about the strategy released Friday pointed out that the integration presents several opportunities for the country, including attracting more funding into the integration agenda. 

It is also expected to broaden the scope of health services, increasing efficiency, avoiding duplication of efforts, maximising synergies, and preventing and treating diseases with shared risk factors utilising common management frameworks.

Speaking during the launching ceremony, WHO Country Representative for Tanzania, Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, congratulated the government for its commitment and leadership in developing this integrated HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STI National Strategic Plan.  

READ MORE: WHO: Marburg Virus Disease a Reminder of the Importance of ‘One Health’ Approach

He urged all stakeholders gathered to join hands in implementing this integrated HIV, Viral hepatitis and STI Strategic Plan in earnest zeal and diligently monitor the implementation of this NSP while staying accountable.

“For WHO, we are proud to have been part of the processes for developing this integrated National Strategic Plan (NSP),” he noted. 

“I would like to assure you that, as is always, the World Health Organization is at your disposal to provide the much-needed support, be it technical or financial, towards this last mile as we end the AIDS, Viral hepatitis and STIs epidemics,” Dr Sagoe-Moses added. 

With seven years left towards the 2030 goal of ending AIDS, Viral hepatitis and STIs, WHO notes that stakeholders need to join efforts to ensure that HIV, Viral hepatitis and STIs will no longer be diseases of public health importance by 2030.

The launch gathered diverse stakeholders from the health sector (Ministry of Health, PO-RALG, TACAIDS), development partners like the UN Family (WHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS), the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Civil Society Organizations including NACOPHA as well as regional and district medical officers.

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