African Mayors praise Zambia over HIV/AIDS fight


THE Alliance of Mayors in Africa has praised the Zambian government for taking practical steps aimed at mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS by constitutionalising the provision of primary healthcare which includes HIV/AIDS.

Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders Initiative for Community Action on HIV/AIDS at the Local Level (AMICAALL)-Africa vice-president Nathan Chanda said the Zambian government’s decision to give power to local authorities to manage primary healthcare would go a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Speaking during cross border meeting on the fight against HIV/AIDS held in Sesheke and Kazungula last week, Mr. Chanda said the response of African countries towards ending the spread of HIV/AIDS would not be achieved unless they targeted all possible sources of new HIV/AIDS infections.

He said he was happy that the municipalities in Zambia were ready to assume additional responsibility not only as a constitutional objective but also their demonstration of willingness to serve by signing the declaration to fast track the end of HIV/AIDS by 2030.

“The function of HIV management and coordination in local authorities in Zambia does not come as a result of administrative arrangement. It is now a constitutional imperative. The Amended Zambian Constitution gives power to local authorities to manage primary health issues including HIV.

“This is a great responsibility, but I am pleased to state that municipalities in Zambia are prepared to assume this added responsibility as exemplified by their commitment at the last LGAZ/AMICAALL Conference when they signed the declaration to fast track the end of the spread of HIV by 2030. Our response to end the spread of HIV/AIDS cannot be achieved until and unless we target all possible sources of new HIV/AIDS infections,” Mr. Chanda said.

He said migration of people from one country to the other for business purposes meant there was need for neighbouring countries to put in stringent measures to ensure that the efforts they were putting in were not eroded by such interactions, adding that there was need for strategic collaboration among countries.

“We in Zambia or indeed our colleagues in Namibia may put in place measures to combat the epidemic. However, for as long as there is travel between Zambia and Namibia, we may not be able to contain the epidemic if we continue to work in isolation. This is where strategic collaboration between border towns becomes imperative.

“Focusing primary health care services provision on our residents only without factoring in migrants who are a key population will merely erode your investment. This approach is a departure from the business as usual approach, but focuses on high impact interventions and programming that will lead to the high results. By focusing on proven high impact intervention, we are hopeful that, all things being equal, we will achieve the national goal of free New HIV Infection by 2030.

“The success of many programmes depends upon cooperation between many players and cooperating partners, sometimes such partners come from other regions or nations. It is, therefore, in view of this synergy that I would like to appreciate cooperation between Swedish local authorities and their Zambian counterparts,” he said.Brazil cancels US$90.7m