AFRICA/TANZANIA - Test HIV/AIDS and free antiretroviral in the Diocese of Shinyanga

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Mwanza (Agenzia Fides) - The five-year project "Test & Treat", which provides free access to HIV testing and if necessary, to antiretroviral treatment for approximately 120 thousand residents of the District of Shinyanga, Mwanza, in Tanzania, was officially launched yesterday in Dar es Salaam, in conjunction with the XXII World Day of the Sick.
The project aims to give aid to existing facilities in the diagnosis and treatment of HIV and related diseases, namely the Health Center in Ngokolo and dispensaries in Bugisi, Buhangija and Mija; the development of formation specialized programs for company personnel and healthcare professionals involved; the organization of educational programs for rural district communities; the strengthening of nutritional support initiatives to HIV-positive children.
The Project is a collaboration between the "The Good Samaritan" Foundation of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, the local Church and Gilead Sciences, a U.S. company that combines medical and scientific research in facilitating the local production of antiretrovirals in the countries economically disadvantaged, and has implemented charitable initiatives. "Based on the statistics related to the spread of the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in Northern Tanzania – explains Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, President of the Pontifical Council - it is estimated that between 20 thousand people who will undergo the analysis, will be positive to the HIV test. They can, however, receive free antiretroviral drugs they need. This will enable them to be aware of their status and to secure a life expectancy of over 30 years, and for pregnant women to prevent the transmission of the virus to the unborn child". (AP) (Agenzia Fides 12/02/2014)