Tanzanian President Kikwete and his wife participated in a public HIV/AIDS test as part of the launch of TUNAJALI — a five-year, $56 million initiative to prevent HIV/AIDS and provide treatment and care for individuals infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The HIV test kicked off an ongoing testing campaign in Mwalimy Nyerere Square in Dodoma, Tanzania.
After President Kikwete was tested Prime Minister Lowassa and his wife, Mama Regina, former Speaker of the National Assembly, and Samuel Sitta, a Member of Parliament, and his wife, Margaret Sitta, Minister of Education and Vocational Training were tested. Additionally, 100 members of parliament were publicly tested as part of the launch.
On Aug. 2, 2007, Prime Minister Edward Lowassa; Dodoma Regional Commissioner William Lukuvi; U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Michael Retzer; USAID Tanzania Director Pamela White; political and government leaders; and civil society representatives participated in the nationwide launch of the campaign, supported by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Emergency Plan/PEPFAR).
During the event, U.S. Ambassador Retzer reminded the audience of the Tanzanian proverb that charity is a matter of the heart and not of the pocketbook. “It does not require money to overcome stigma and care for the sick,” Ambassador Retzer said.
TUNAJALI focuses on both community and facility-based services to ensure long-term quality treatment and care. The Home-based Community Care for People Living with HIV/AIDS and Orphans and Vulnerable Children (HBC/OVC) initiative will take place over five years and the HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment initiative will take place over four years.
The TUNAJALI HBC/OVC goals are to deliver care and support services to an increasing number of HIV/AIDS-affected households. TUNAJALI will address the health care, psychological, socio-economic and human rights needs of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). OVC services will cover health, nutrition, psychosocial needs, education, child protection, shelter, income generation and life skills. The HBC/OVC activities, which officially began a few months ago, have already reached 21,000 PLWHAs and registered and provided services to 40,000 OVCs.
The TUNAJALI Care & Treatment program is working to support improved access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) for Tanzanians living with HIV/AIDS. Project goals include enrolling more than 30,000 people in 38 participating hospitals and health centers and ensuring that 15,000 individuals are on ART. Treatment services will be available in all districts of Dodoma, Iringa, Morogoro and Singida.