By MWILA BWEMBYA
THE Network of Zambian People Living with HIV and AIDS (NZP+) has called on the Government to devise mechanisms that will ensure the country moves towards self-sustenance in funding HIV/AIDS treatment.
Currently, about 80 per cent of HIV treatment is financed by the donors while the Government contributes 20 per cent.
NPZ+ executive director Fred Chungu said in an interview that increased funding would ensure HIV/AIDS treatment, sustainability in the wake of donors withdrawing their support.
The United States government, which is the huge funder of various HIV/AIDS programmes in the country recently threatened to withdraw its support to Zambia following the recall of its envoy Daniel Foote.
“Imagine if the donors had to pull out today, what will happen. Are we going to sustain the HIV and AIDS programmes. It is about raising money domestically as a country that can help us sustain the treatment and other HIV/AIDS programmes,” Mr Chungu said.
He said the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme that the government was currently implementing, could be replicated at company level and to ensure that the firms support HIV/AIDS treatment as part of their corporate social responsibility.
“We need to come up with strategies like the health insurance that can ensure some money is collected from organizations and channeled towards HIV/ AIDS treatment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Chungu said the country had made tremendous progress towards the attainment of the 90-90-90 target for treatment by the end of this year.
The target entailed that 90 per cent of people living with HIV, knew their status; 90 per cent of people who knew their status on treatment; and 90 per cent of people on treatment should have their viral loads suppressed.
“There has been progress in achieving the set targets and we are almost there, it is just a matter of concerted efforts from all stakeholders,” he said.
According to the latest Zambia Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS), the country has more than one million people on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).