Government urged to confront disease burden through health integrated solutions

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—UNAIDS Country Community Mobilisation and Networking Adviser, Kenneth Mwansa, says the Zambian government should confront the disease burden through health integrated solutions.

Mr Mwansa said Zambia and other African governments must embrace the integrated health approach for disease prevention and mitigation to emphatically deal with diseases.

He said the disease cost burden remains a strain on most African economies especially for countries in the middle-income bracket like Zambia.

Mr Mwansa said the middle-income governments in Africa, however, have the financial muscle to deal with their disease burden through local integrated health care initiatives.

He said for instance the public sector institutions in Zambia receive a lot of money from the treasury for HIV interventions but there is no evidence on the ground to justify the expenditure.

He observed that with enhanced monitoring mechanisms to ensure accountability and transparency in the public sector institutions, a candid disease response is tenable.

Mr Mwansa argued that the integrated health approach will harness the meagre resources and make most of the government spending agencies more accountable thereby improving the quality of service delivery.

He also argued that integrated health care initiatives will help improve the institutional linkages that comform to prudent resource management in the public sector.

He noted that middle-income governments such as Zambia will not continue having stand-alone budgets for specific disease challenges such as the HIV pandemic.

He said it is for this reason that diseases such as cancers, HIV, malaria and other none-communicable diseases should be dealt with spontaneously through an integration health system.

Mr Mwansa was speaking in Nchelenge district of Luapula Province yesterday during the monitoring of the National Aids Council (NAC) funded Community Based Organisations (CBOs) that provide community HIV services.

Mr Mwansa was in the company of UNDP Programme Analyst for Poverty and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Francis Mbilima, the National Aids Council (NAC) coordinator for Decentralized Grants Response, John Banda and Luapula Province Aids Coordination Adviser (PACA), Nathan Kabwe.

Mr Mwansa thanked the members of the CBOs for providing what he termed leadership in the fight against the HIV pandemic.

He said the Zambian health care system has structural challenges that require human resource interventions and the presence of the volunteer workers in the sector is a huge relief.

He said the country may not be able to send health personnel ubiquitously because of the cost implication making volunteer workers very essential in the health service delivery.

And UNDP Programme Analyst for Poverty and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Francis Mbilima, has urged for culturally supported solutions to scale up Voluntary Male Circumcision (VMC).

Mr Mbilima said the Zambian government should embrace culturally crafted VMC initiatives and the adoption of a user-friendly technology that does not scare away clients.

He observed that already there are tribes in Zambia such as Lundas and the Luvales of the North Western Province that have practiced circumcision for many years.

He observed that local solutions to scaling up VMC especially in rural areas will address the shortage of service providers that hamper the scaling up efforts in many health facilities.

Meanwhile NAC coordinator for decentralized grants response, John Banda, has expressed satisfaction at the levels of leadership exhibited by CBOs that are implementing HIV intervention services.

Mr Banda urged the groups to give priority to commercial sex workers and migrant groups because they are more prone to the HIV pandemic.

He advised the Nchelenge District Aids Task Force (DATF) to encourage and facilitate exchange visits to instil confidence in the groups to enhance their capacities.