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Unaids hails government on HIV and Aids fight

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The Unaids has lauded the Malawi government for the successes it has registered in the fight against HIV and Aids.

Unaids Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary- General of the United nations, Jan Beagle, who is in the country for a two-day visit, made the remarks in Lilongwe on Tuesday when he visited President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu Palace.

“We have seen a lot of progress in Malawi. We have seen very steep decreases in the transmission of HIV from mother to child. That is because a bold decision was taken in 2011 to take on board Option B+; to treat all HIV-positive women, to ensure their babies don’t contract HIV and Aids,” Beagle said.

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She added: “We have 22 countries that have problems with Prevention of Mother To child Transmission (PMTCT). Apart from that, Malawi is one of the first to include in its strategic plan 90-90- 90 target [a global goal that by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 percent of all the people diagnosed with HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and that 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral will have attained viral load suppression]”

In his remarks, Mutharika thanked Unaids for providing technical support for the development of Malawi’s new National Strategic Plan for HIV and Aids and Malawi’s Prevention Strategy.

“You may be aware that Malawi’s National Strategic Plan was the first in the world, to embrace the Unaids targets of 90.90.90; Lastly, but not the least, for providing invaluable technical and financial assistance (together with UNFPA and Unicef), to support the First Lady on her programme, to ensure that we do not leave children and young women and girls behind in the HIV response, and that we address cervical cancer,” Mutharika said.

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He said that he is confident that through mobilisation efforts, Malawi will join the list of countries that will announce to the UN General Assembly this year, that they have achieved the global target of virtually eliminating mother-to-child HIV infections.

Mutharika also highlighted that while development partners have shown remarkable solidarity with Malawi in partnering to address HIV and Aids, government is doing its part.

“For the first time, my government is contributing $8.5 million to procure ARVs for the period 2015 to 2017. These are hard-earned resources and I am making demonstrable efforts to ensure they are managed in a transparent and accountable manner,” he said.

Mutharika further said government will always try to achieve the goal of ending Aids by 2030.

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