MTHUNYA Rural Health Centre chairperson Spider Phiri has asked the government to ensure that rural roads are worked on in its efforts to reduce HIV cases in communities.
Speaking during the National HIV Testing, Counselling and Treatment day at the centre on Tuesday, Phiri said most roads leading to clinics and health centres were in such deplorable states such that it would be hard and challenging for vehicles to deliver drugs or services to people.
He said some roads became impassable during the rain season.
We are proud of the government efforts in its agenda to establish many rural health centres to provide drugs to the people rather than us travelling long distance to receive drugs. This is a plus and we urge government through the Ministry of Health to continue looking at us in this manner. I wish to take this opportunity to appeal to our good government to continue thinking in a way of working on the rural roads leading to these health centres because if roads continue to be bad, believe me it will be a challenge for the health staff to reach these places. In the rain season, the roads are impassable such that it will disadvantage the people accessing drugs. Work on our roads and you will see that the community and government will achieve the agenda of reducing the HIV/AIDS in our communities,
Phiri, who has been on anti-retroviral therapy since 2001, said.
He said there was benefit in the drugs as they gave people strength to perform better than a person who was HIV negative. Phiri told the gathering that from 2001, he had been a healthy person because he consistently took the drug.
HIV is not in the clinic, HIV is not in the hospital, HIV is in the community where we are coming from, so it is not only the health officers to end this issue but it is our responsibility to end or reduce it by sharing information about it in our communities. What is important is prevention for those who are not yet positive and to those who are positive, what is important is to take drugs and to those who don’t know their status, what is important is to know your status to have a free mind. We mingle a lot in our communities, let’s fight to end this virus if we are to develop and progress,
“I also want to challenge those who know their HIV status as positive to avoid infecting others because by doing so, we are killing the future generation which can also be of value to us when we grow old…let’s love each other by being honest to ourselves.”
And Sinda district medical officer in charge Dr Martin Mbewe said communities needed to work with the health staff to reduce HIV transmission in the district.
He also told the gathering that the district had 5,249 people (334 children and 4,915 adults) on ART by the end of the second quarter of 2017.
As a district, we are doing all the best to upgrade many health centres in providing ART drugs as a way of reducing distances people ought to walk to the facilities that provide ART services. We want to strengthen community response through active involvement and participation of local community based organisations and partnership in creating demand, disseminating information, referral networks and partnership building on the social determination,
said Dr Mbewe who further explained that 8,611 tests were conducted and 91 confirmed positive and placed on treatment.
Meanwhile, Sinda district commissioner Paradious Sakala, who was represented by district education board secretary Feston Mtonga, said people ought to be free with their HIV status and acquire drugs without shame or fear just like it was with ailments such as Malaria.
Anyone found to be HIV+ should instantly be put on treatment. There will be no need to wait until a person gets sick…,
He said Zambia was determined to reverse the impact of HIV on its citizens.
“Universal testing and treatment entails that regardless of their CD4 count, HIV positive people are offered antiretroviral therapy and put on treatment as soon as they are ready to commence treatment…,” said Sakala.