Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labor, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Hon, Jenista Mhagama visit NACOPHA Mbeya City Council PLHIV cluster to strengthen the ‘Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’ between NACOPHA and Government, and to oversee PLHIV Clusters progress and challenges as part of the government’s efforts to strengthen the PLHIV Clusters on 27th October 2021.
The visit was a continuation of the Minister’s frequent supportive supervision to HIV implementing partners including NACOPHA to facilitate and establish partnership and coordination with HIV implementing partners. The Minister had an opportunity to learn discuss the achievements and challenges, and offered recommendations to improve implementation.
The Minister was accompanied by TACAIDS Executive Director Dr.Leornard Maboko, NACOPHA Chairperson Ms.Leticia Mourice, the NACOPHA Chief Executive Mr. Deogratious Rutatwa, Board Members and key NACOPHA staffs. She met cluster leaders and members of PLHIV Empowerment Groups and visited exhibitions that aimed at increasing PLHIV’s income which in turn facilitates an improvement in adherence to treatment. A total of five (5) PLHIV groups participated in exhibitions and showcased various products includes liquid soap, batik, tie and dye, nutritional products, artistic pictures, buckets, beads products, sweaters, traditional mats etc.
In her speech, Hon. Mhagama began by relaying a message from the President of United Republic of Tanzania Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan who promised to continue making ARVs available to all PLHIV for free. She congratulated PLHIV cluster for the efforts in mobilizing communities for HIV testing and achieve 96% viral load suppression which is above the National target of 95%. She added that PLHIV status disclosure motivated more clients to go for testing, start ART and adhere to treatment. The most critical part is civil servants, who have disclosed their status and established their union. “It is the best practice and should be rolled out in all councils in the country.” She instructed.
Hon Minister was so impressed by PLHIV Economic Empowerment activities. Special thanks went to a youth, Furaha Simengo, an artist who gave the Hon. Minister a present of her painted portrait, which was a very big surprise for her. In receiving the present, she promised Furaha one million shillings which will be contributed by TACAIDS in collaboration with Prime Minister’s Office.
In her concluding remarks, Hon Minister committed that the government will continue to support all efforts made by PLHIV in HIV response by giving them priorities in all available opportunities.