President Dr Lazarus Chakwera says Malawi needs  concerted efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS if the battle against the epidemic is to be won.

The Malawi leader was speaking Tuesday at Mitundu primary school ground in Lilongwe during commemorations marking this year’s World AIDS Day which has been held concurrently with International AIDS Candlelight Memorial.

The President said the yearly event should act as a  reminder on the role health personnel play in the fight against the epidemic.

“This memorial is the oldest reminder of the many lives we have lost to AIDS. It is also an opportunity to honour those dedicated to helping people living with AIDS and affected by HIV. Overtime the memorial has played a role of bringing people together to fight the spread of HIV and against stigma towards those who have it.”

The President added that  the disease is being fought in the midst of other pandemics such as COVID-19 as such the Nation should not lower it’s guard.

” In 2015 Malawi Government subscribed and committed to the 90:90:90 treatment targets set by UNAIDS. Malawi’s performance in this pursuit has been stellar. As of June 2020, we were already  moving towards achieving the 95:95:95 targets set for the year 2025.It is through these deliberate strides that elimination of HIV as a public health threat by 2030 is achievable but we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Chakwera.

Speaking earlier Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda applauded all non state actors for joining the fight against HIV/AiDS .

“Almost 90 percent of the funds for procuring Anti Retro Viral drugs (ARVs) are from donor partners so we want to register our sincere appreciation,” said Chiponda.

United Nations Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres, said HIV/AIDS ought to be eliminated.

She said earlier surveys indicate that Malawians need universal health  access which is not possible without addressing HIV/AIDS.

“If we want to address HIV/AIDS we need to stop sexual violence against women and girls.Tackling HIV/AIDS should not be left to  Government only. It requires the whole society to join hands against the epidemic therefore local solutions in combating the epidemic are welcome if they help to accelerate its  elimination by 2030,” said Torres.

During the function Max Ntiwa and Martha Chiwaula gave  testimonies on positive living.

Health experts believe abstinence and being faithful to one’s partner can significantly   reduce spread of HIV. UNAIDS say over 1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

-MBC-

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