IOM and the Government of Zambia have launched HIV investment strategic plans for three border districts in the country aimed at guiding the national response to “A Nation Free from the Threat of HIV”.
The three districts (Sesheke, Kazungula and Chililabombwe) serve as gateways into the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to the 2013-2014 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey, Zambia’s HIV prevalence amongst mobile people who spent nights away from home for various reasons was high at 15.1 per cent, compared to the national prevalence of 11.3 per cent for all men. Similarly for women, the national average was 15.1 per cent, compared to 17.3 per cent among those who had spent nights away from home.
The strategic plans developed have been aligned to the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework (NASF 2014 — 2016) and focus on high impact interventions including key populations.
The plans have a strong shift towards “leaving no one behind” and seek to strengthen mechanisms to address “hard to reach” populations, including migrants and mobile populations.
Western Province Minister Poniso Njeulu, IOM staff and other stakeholders from the three districts gathered in Sesheke to witness the launch of these strategic plans.
Through these plans, the districts under the leadership of the National AIDS Council aim to make significant inroads in reaching the national vision of “A Nation Free from the Threat of HIV”.
Speaking at the launch, IOM Zambia Chief of Mission Abibatou Wane highlighted the need to target and reach out to all key populations in the HIV response, as a sound investment towards ending the pandemic. She reiterated IOM’s continued support for the efforts of the Zambian government’s plan to end the threat of HIV by 2030.
“We are at that point in the HIV response where we cannot afford to leave anyone behind. Key populations represent a critical component of our HIV response, and I am pleased to note that migrants and mobile populations amongst other key populations such as women, young people, sex workers and their clients are specifically targeted in our planning,” she said.
This project was made possible with support from Partnership on Health and Mobility in East and Southern Africa (PHAMESA), and with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).