FRANCISTOWN: National Aids and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA) formally known as NACA coordinator, Richard Matlhare has said that they have found it fit to consolidate their efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS through the mayors’ 90-90-90 initiative.
The joint initiative brings together all the six mayors to work collectively and mount a vicious six months campaign to address HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Addressing a press conference this week at the Adansonia Hotel, Matlhare said that through a collective effort by all the mayors they are going to cause some hype and engage in activities that will bring about a shift in the manner they have been doing things.
Most importantly, they will be building on what was described by President Mokgweetsi Masisi during the World AIDS Day commemorations in Mochudi last year under the theme ‘Know your status’.
Matlhare stated that the campaign would be centered around two cities and four towns. It is different from what was done in the past during the 90-90-90 mayors campaign.
He added that in the past the cities and towns launched the 90-90-90-90 mayors campaign individually.
Matlhare said that initially the 90-90-90 campaign was an HIV campaign that was launched through a Paris Declaration of 2014 which stated that all mayors should take a lead in addressing more especially amongst others the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a way of fast tracking this targets towards epidemic control by the year 2020.
He said that the mayors’ launch was initiated in Gaborone, Francistown, Selibe Phikwe, Jwaneng, Lobatse and just recently in Sowa Town. Through the launches they emphasised that people should know their status. It journey does not only end in testing, but they should also move to the second 90, which states that people must now enroll on treatment if tested positive.
“If one tests positive they should be on treatment and the understanding is that you now gravitate towards the third 90 where you must achieve ultimate viral load suppression
Delivering the Mayors declaration of commitment towards the 90-90-90 mayors’ campaign, Kagiso Thutlwe of Gaborone said that as all the mayors of the two cities and four towns would be cognisant of their collective responsibility to contribute towards the 90-90-90 campaign.
Thutlwe stated that they would further commit to fostering an enviroment that respects human rights, freedom from stigma and discrimination. They would also address the needs of the most vulnerable groups and encourage community involvement in matters affecting their health. This is not limited to addressing the epidemics of HIV and non-communicable disease.
When responding to the questions raised by the members of the Fourth Estate in regards to issuing ARVs to patients at clinics, Greater Gaborone District Health Management Team (GGDHMT), chief health officer Josephine Mosimanewakgosi said the government is already implementing the decision.
She emphasised that it has long being introduced for them to carryout integration of services through which some HIV patients can receive their treatments from local clinics.
Mosimanewakgosi said that districts such, as Tutume, Mahalapye, Gaborone, Francistown, Kweneng West and Jwaneng have started integration of services and just a few regions which are still lagging behind towards implementing the new policy.
“We are a traveling nation and some of the HIV patients fail to carry ARVs when traveling, hence stop treatment if the medication is finished. There are also patients who work for companies, which fail to release them from the workplace during scheduled doctors appointment and refills,”she said.
She also said that they have started issuing Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to the vulnerable community who are negative so that they are protected from infection.