More than 80, 000 people living with HIV on the Copperbelt are not on antiretroviral therapy (ART), the Ministry of Health has said. Speaking during the provincial epidemics preparedness meeting yesterday, Copperbelt director of health Alex Makupe said the ministry is expected to place 260, 000 HIV-positive people in the province on ART by 2021.
He said of the targeted 260,000 people, 190,000 are already on ART treatment. Dr Makupe, however, said over 80,000 HIV-positive people are not on treatment, describing the situation is worrying. “HIV remains a big problem in the province, we are the second most populated province in the country. Therefore, the number of those who are HIV positive is also very high.
“We have a number of those who are HIV-positive but have not yet been identified. “Therefore, the team on the Copperbelt is working on identifying those 80,000 to 100,000 that are HIV-positive but are not in our books,” he said. Dr Makupe said the province has recorded a reduction in maternal deaths.“Last year, we recorded 94 maternal deaths, but this year we only recorded 64,” he said. Dr Makupe also said his team is working hard to eliminate malaria in the province by 2021.
Meanwhile, Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe says Government will supply gadgets in government offices to detect civil servants who report for work drunk. Mr Nundwe urged civil servants to avoid taking alcohol while on duty. “We still have people who quaff like fish. We are losing many people as a result of drinking and bad lifestyles. Please leave a small percent in your brain for work,” he said.
Mr Nundwe also directed the provincial health department to sensitise people in the region on the dangers of non-communicable diseases.
He urged health workers in the province to develop a good attitude to work. Mr Nundwe directed provincial leaders to ensure that the province is clean and safe as the rainy season approaches