HEALTH

by Ben Taylor

HIV sector faces funding crisis
The Executive Chairperson of the Tanzania Commission for HIV/AIDS (TACAIDS), Dr Fatma Mrisho, warned that donor funding for the fight against HIV and AIDS was at risk. She said that the Canadian and Danish governments had informed her that from 2015, they would no longer provide financial support to the National Multi-Sectoral Strategic Framework. In addition, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is also reducing funding. “We, as a nation, need to get prompt replacement for the funding, failure of which all the achievements made in the fight against HIV and Aids for more than 20 years will experience a heavy blow,” said Dr Mrisho. (Daily News)

Drop in new HIV infections among children
Tanzania recorded a decline in new HIV infections among children between 2009 and 2012, according to a new report by the UN on “The Global Plan towards elimination of new HIV infections among chil­dren”. Nevertheless, the Global Plan indicated that since only 53% of eligible pregnant women and 26% of eligible children are currently receiving antiretroviral therapy, the country should continue to focus on providing treatment. (East African)

Dengue fever outbreak
The Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Hussein Mwinyi, announced that several deaths from dengue fever had been reported at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam. Preventive measures, including sensitising the public about the deadly disease, are being taken. (East African)

Bacteria to be deployed against mosquito larvae
A $22 million biolarvicide plant is under construction in Kibaha, with the potential to provide a valuable new weapon in the battle against malaria, one of the country’s biggest killers. The project, a joint venture between the Tanzanian government and a Cuban state-owned firm, will produce a more eco-friendly alternative to synthetic larvacides. The biolarvicides contain toxins that specifically target mosquito larvae. Tanzania is spending about $240 million (a staggering 3.4 per cent of GDP) annually to treat malaria. This suggests that of the $11.37 being spent per person per year on health, $2.14 is spent on treating malaria and its complications. (East African)

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