Through support from the US Presidents emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnership, the Ministry of Health through the Western Province Provincial Health Office, conducted a stakeholders meeting for civil society organisations, the church, media and traditional leadership to introduce the launch of the U=U Campaign.
Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) with PEPFAR funding and CDC support will be implementing the U=U Campaign in Kaoma, Lukulu, Senanga, Sioma, Limulunga, Sikongo, Nalolo, Lwampa and Kalabo.
Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) Representative Induna Namamba said, the BRE is committed to work with MOH to disseminate the U=U campaign to the communities. “The traditional leadership is excited about this campaign and so we commit to work with MOH and other partners to ensure that this message reaches out to the communities and encourage everyone to go for an HIV test, start treatment if found HIV positive and adhere to treatment”.
And Bishop Silwamba said it was high time the church came on board in the fight against HIV “for along time, the church has been regarded as an enemy in the fight against HIV but we are alive to the fact that the church has been invaded by business men and magicians who send out wrong information on HIV especially with regards to adherence. That is why we have come to this meeting so that we here to get the correct with information to share with our congregants”.
And Namakau Muketoi from the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS said there is need increase information dissemination on HIV and the importance of adherence, “most patients lack adequate information on HIV even after undergoing counseling which has resulted in self-stigma leading to fear of disclosure to their partners. There is also lack of information on adherence in health facilities hence most patients default on taking their medication.