The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Executive Director Winnie Byanyima has hailed Zambia for implementing the free education policy as a driver for halting HIV new infections among children and adolescents.
The Executive Director is in the country to appreciate the HIV/AIDS programme and education programme targeted at children and adolescents.
Speaking at Parliament Building when she met Ministers of Health, Education and Community & Social Services, Ms Byanyima said the implementation of the free education policy was a big decision which will open opportunities for many children.
And Health Minister Sylvia Masebo said government was concerned with increasing number of new Infections among adolescents.
“I wish to state that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on not only the HIV programme, but other health services as well.
We have seen a generally downward trend in the uptake of health services particularly in the initial stages of the pandemic as people were afraid of coming to the health facility for the services”
Ms Masebo said in the past 12 months, the country had initiated over 180,535 individuals on ART bringing the total number of Zambians on Therapy to 1,199,256.
She however stated that there were areas which still needed a lot of attention adding that HIV took the face of Adolescents and young people, particularly women and girls.
“We are also not where we want to be in terms of Paediatric HIV” said Ms Masebo
Meanwhile, Community and Social Services Minister Doreen Mwamba has bemoaned the plight of girls who have no decent accommodation and social security.
She said her ministry was providing social services for adolescents in a bid to curb vices that disadvantage girl children.
Ms Mwamba said her Ministry had discovered that vulnerable women were mostly at risk of unprotected sex.