Speaking here yesterday, Dr Chaula said the regional authorities should start to make proper use of development funds for better and more expansive health projects.
“One municipal council, for instance, has requested up to 60m/- for just erecting a wall, while a health facility would be much more useful,” the deputy PS said when opening an Alliance of Mayors Initiative for Community Action on AIDS at the Local Level (AMICAALL) meeting.
The meeting, organised by the government in partnership with the John Hopkins Programme for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO), brings together municipal mayors from across the country to discuss health issues, with particular focus on HIV/AIDS.
Dr Chaula said by 2030, health services in all public health facilities will have been improved by 90 per cent under a determined government drive.
She informed meeting participants that prevalence of the HIV virus is still high in the country, urging regional authorities to make more efforts to raise public awareness about the deadly disease.
Dr Chaula commended JHPIEGO for teaming up with AMICAALL to conduct a joint project dubbed ‘Sauti (Voice)’ which has helped to enhance the fight against AIDS.
She urged regional officials to mobilise members of the public to join health insurance schemes, and called on all municipal councils to earmark funds for the fight against AIDS through special council committees.
AMICAALL chairman Abdallah Chaurembo said the two-day meeting will focus on new strategies to address challenges and come up with strategies to enhance the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Sauti project deputy director Dr Maligo Katatebalila said the four-year project which includes free medical check-ups has reached 1.1million people, of whom 53,000 were found to have HIV.
“We’ve reached 14 regions and 51 municipal councils over the past four years. The project found 80 per cent of people who undertook medical check-ups to have HIV,” Dr Katatebalila explained.
He added that those who were found with HIV have started taking ARV drugs in accordance with government treatment guidelines.