Tanzania has reported over 800 cases of HIV-AIDS; half have resulted in death since 1983, and local medical experts believe that the disease was introduced to East Africa by foreign servicemen. Prostitutes in East African ports contracted the disease from the troops and then trailer drivers transporting land-looked Burundi’s imports introduced it to Tanzania. The disease was first reported at Lukuyu village in Kagera region close to Uganda which is a major stop on the trailer route. The first victims were women wearing T-shirts labelled ‘Juliana’, obtained from trailer drivers. When the disease was first detected local people referred to it as ‘Juliana’ because its victims were wearers of Juliana T-shirts – Daily News.

The Government has launched an aggressive five year campaign to halt what the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Aaron Chidua has described as the ‘alarming spread’ of the disease. AIDS is now threatening all twenty regions of the country.

At a recent two day AIDS donor meeting in Dar es Salaam, 14 donor agencies undertook to support the Government’s efforts by contributing Shs 270 million out of the first year’s estimated costs of Shs 800 million. The Aid Control Programme (ACP) will include research, training, clinical improvements, systematic screening of blood exchange and a Campaign to educate the people. The ACP has been acclaimed by the World Health Organisation.

A count by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare ending June 28 this year showed that 1,256 Tanzanians have developed cases of AIDS since 1983 of whom 426 have died in hospitals. Tanzania’s rate of infection among pregnant women in Dar es Salaam is 3.6% in Arusha 0.7% in Mbeya 6% and in Kagera region 16%. – Shihata.

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