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‘US shutdown will affect AIDS/HIV programmes’

THE US federal government shutdown effects will be felt sooner than later by Zambians especially in the health sector’s HIV and AIDS programmes, a government official has disclosed.

The government shutdown has already affected
US Embassy operations in Zambia as business was closed.

US President Donald Trump insists the shutdown which entered day 35 yesterday, to become the longest ever shutdown in US history, would stay on until he gets about US$5.7 billion to fund the Mexico border wall.

The government shutdown has left about 800,000 federal government employees without pay.
However, efforts to get a comment from health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya proved futile as his mobile phone was switched-off.
A government source, who is not authorised to talk to the media, said the US Department of State had also been greatly affected.

“Most transactions with the US government have been postponed or cancelled due to the government shutdown in the USA. While, the area of supply of stocks of antiretroviral treatments is usually done to cover for a period of six months, we, in the health sector, fear that the effects of the shutdown will be felt in this sector sooner than later,” the source said.

The source added that the US through PEPFAR, had provided over $3.5 billion in funding for programmes from the community to the national level leading to a decrease in new HIV cases.

“We also receive a lot of support through the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) but we hope this area will not be greatly affected but we foresee a lot of challenges with some NGOs and government departments that receive assistance from the US government through the centre,” added the source.

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