LUSAKA, June 22 - Vice-President, Enoch Kavindele says HIV/AIDS has become a threat to the socio-economic fabric of the country and called on all members of society to help fight the scourge.
Mr Kavindele said in Lusaka yesterday that there could be no meaningful social and economic development if the problem of HIV/AIDS was not adequately tackled.
The Vice-President was speaking at a consultative meeting on debt relief for HIV/AIDS at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC). He said it was sad to note that although Zambia was reporting a decline in new infections, especially among the young, HIV/AIDS figures were still very high.
“It is also true that all the development gains that could possibly have been made over the years, have been reversed by HIV/AIDS to some extent,” he said.
Mr Kavindele was, however, pleased that a liaison group was pursuing debt relief on HIV/AIDS and encouraged the group to continue.
“As you pursue the opportunities, I am sure you will also address issues such as putting programmes into place that will help the Zambian nation understand that HIV/AIDS has to be given priority in Zambia’s development agendas,” he said.
Earlier, liaison group chairperson, Nkandu Luo stressed the need to accord HIV/AIDS the highest attention in all developmental efforts in Zambia.
Professor Luo said politicians should provide political commitment to more people beyond the realm of mere rhetoric.
She said countries needed to develop specific policies, strategies and national institutional frameworks that would provide the much needed guidance to fight HIV/AIDS.
And a youth non-governmental organisation (NGO) has called on young people not to engage in sex before marriage to reduce the spread of the deadly HIV/AIDS.
True Christian Youth Outreach executive director, James Mwenda said in a statement to mark youth day which fell yesterday that the scourge of HIV/AIDS would only be contained with good morals.
He said HIV/AIDS was a serious problem which was affecting all the people in society including youths who were dying from the disease.
Meanwhile, the Youth Federation for World Peace (FFWP) said yesterday that the HIV/AIDS crisis in Zambia had exerted undue pressure on the country’s limited resources and infrastructure.
YFWP president, Daniel Chisenga said HIV/AIDS was having a serious toll on the nation’s most educated, energetic and productive segments of population thereby draining human capital.