President Edgar Lungu today, 11 December 32017, launched the Lusaka Anti Retroviral Therapy Saturation Surge Campaign. He launched the campaign during the commemoration of the World AIDS Day celebrations, whose theme is Ënding AIDS Starts with ME!”.
“This is the first ever surge campaign in Africa and I would urge everyone to support this campaign by getting tested now. If you are found negative, live responsibly and if found positive start treatment now immediately,” President Lungu said.
In his launch speech, President Lungu said “the commemoration of World AIDS Day this year coincides with the launch of the Lusaka Ant-retroviral Therapy Surge Campaign dubbed ‘Tiyende Pamodzi’’ . This campaign is aimed at Achieving HIV epidemic control, within one year, in Lusaka which currently carries 25 percent of the national HIV burden.”
President Lungu said, though Zambia has witnessed the decline of HIV cases, more work need to be done to sustain the gains achieved so far.
What is Lusaka ART Saturation Surge campaign?
Lusaka ART Saturation Surge Campaign is a strategy by the Ministry of Health and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Zambia to achieve HIV epidemic control in Lusaka Province over 12 months, whereby 90% of People Living with HIV(PLHIV) are identified, 90% of identified PLHIV are placed on ART, 90% of PLHIV on ART become virally suppressed and use the information learned from achieving epidemic control in Lusaka Province to assure achieving 90-90-90 efficiently in Zambia nationwide by or before December 2020.
Currently, Lusaka province statistics indicate that out of an estimated population of 326,535 people living with HIV, only 71% of people are aware of their HIV status, while 88% are on treatment and 89% are virally suppressed.
CIDRZ, being the main GRZ partner in Lusaka will take a lead in ensuring that the objects, 90:90:90 are reached for Lusaka.
The Surge Strategies
The campaign will implement strategies such as increasing targeted case identification through index testing of family and other sexual partners (Partner Notification Services), different linkage strategies tailored for health facilities and communities, Implement the WHO recommendation to retest for verification HIV positive individuals prior to ART initiation and HIV self-testing to reach adolescents, men, and key populations.
Another strategy will be to increase physical infrastructure and staffing to provide ART for increased number of patients by procuring and erecting pre-fabricated structures and hiring additional staff at selected clinics. Convert selected health posts to ART sites by providing the required staff, ARVs and other health commodities, equipment and furniture for service delivery.
Expanding Differentiated Service Delivery (DSD) is another strategy that will be used to better serve the needs of patients on ART and reduce the workload of healthcare workers. This will be achieved through transfer of all stable patients into DSD programs to reduce the time and effort that they need to spend to receive care and treatment, which in turn should improve retention. Provide multiple months prescriptions of ARVs and 6-monthly clinical consultations for all stable patients in Lusaka to reduce the number of clinic visits.
In order to achieve the 3rd 90, viral load testing will be increased to assure that there is capacity to determine the viral load for all patients on ART. Lusaka Province, currently has three viral load testing labs namely the University Teaching Hospital, Pediatric Center of Excellence, and CIDRZ Central Lab with a collective capacity to process 100,000 viral load tests annually.
Lastly, the storage space for ARVs at the district and site levels will be increased to assure adequate supply for the increased number of patients and multiple months prescription, carefully forecast the supply needs at the site level and inform central medical stores to ensure timely drug distribution and ensure adequate supplies of HIV test kits, ARVs, EDTA test tubes, and viral load consumables at all times.
… and First Repoublican President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda was honoured by President Lungu for his efforts in fighting HIV in Zambia. President Kaunda will be one of the Ambassadors for the campaign. Others include Innocent Kalaluka a.k.a Smooth IK; award winning musician, B’Flow; and Keembe Member of Parliament, Hon. Princess Kasune Zulu.