Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Yukihide Katsuta

The government of Japan yesterday commended the Ministry for Health and Social Welfare for promoting HIV/Aids prevention activities through the provision of equipment and commodities.

This was said by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Yukihide Katsuta when closing an HIV/Aids control project which started in 2009 and came to an end in December 2011, which had been funded through a Japan grant aid scheme since 2005.

Katsuta said they aimed at contributing significantly to the expansion of HIV/Aids services, such as voluntary counseling, testing and treatment, to reduce new infections in the country, thanking the government of Tanzania for ensuring the project met the target goals.

“I would like to commended the government of Tanzania and the Health ministry for their strong leadership and ownership of this endeavor to control HIV/Aids spread,” he said.

“The project has ended, as the last delivery of goods was completed in December 2011. However, closure of this project does not mean the end of cooperation by the people of Japan, for we will continue supporting other projects according to needs,” he added.

According to him, currently JICA supported the Health ministry in implementing three technical cooperation projects under the Health System Strengthening Programme, such as providing technical support to the Aids Commission in strengthening supportive, supervision, monitoring and evaluation aspects.

For her part, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Blandina Nyoni said the grant had really enhanced the control of HIV and strengthened sexually transmitted infections (STI) drug treatment.

She said during the project term the ministry managed to ensure that HIV and syphilis testing kits were available throughout the year and also ensured that drugs for the treatment of STIs were available in clinics under proper management and care.

The PS added that the country continued with the fight against HIV/Aids through a number of interventions, including HIV testing and counselling.

“We have widened the range of voluntary counselling and testing to the family level through home- based HIV counselling, as well as providing initiated counselling and testing,” she said

The two initiatives had significantly raised the demand for HIV testing kits and the need for more care and treatment clinics.

In the late 2011 the world witnessed the Global Fund cancellation of Round 11 applications for the HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria funding. It is anticipated that this will impact negatively the levels of achievements towards the control of these two major diseases.

By Gadiosa Lamtey, The Guardian

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