AMREF launches HIV/Aids testing programme
By Correspondent Edwin Agola
The African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) has launched a five-year counselling and testing programme for HIV/Aids, which continues to be a major health threat in Tanzania.
Translated into English ``Angaza Zaidi`` means shed more light. So far AMREF has made Angaza (shed light) a household name, synonymous with high quality counselling and testing services as its contribution to the national response to HIV and Aids.
Counselling and testing provide an important means for both prevention and early detection and management of HIV and Aids, health experts say.
Angaza programme was implemented from October 2001 - September 2008 at 57 sites located in 21 regions as well as Prevention of Mother to Child Treatment (PMTCT) services at 62 sites in Ruvuma Region.
A total of 202,245 clients (108,546 male and 93,699 female) were counseled, tested and given results during the Angaza project for the first six months.
At least 36 percent of them were tested in mobile services while 74 percent were tested in the static sites. Angaza Zaidi is funded by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR).
This week President Jakaya Kikwete launched the new nationwide HIV and Aids initiative in Dar es Salaam with an innovative decentralised structure that aims at reaching out to urban and rural communities with a vision of providing HIV counseling and testing.
The new Angaza includes a vital PMTCT component in Ruvuma Region where 62 service delivery sites for couples and pregnant women will serve urban and rural communities.
The new programme which works closely with the Ministry of Health will also promote and facilitate post test associations and referrals to other care and treatment facilities.
AMREF`s Deputy Director General Dr Florence Muli Musiime, said Angaza Zaidi expects to reach 2.7million Tanzanians over five years, adding philosophically: ``The road will never tell the traveller.``