Stakeholders involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases have resolved to double efforts to ensure the rate of new infections reduce by 60 percent as well as curb HIV –related mortality by 70 per cent and improve on the quality of life of persons living with the disease.
They took the commitment last week at the end of the first statutory meeting of the National AIDS Control Committee, presided over by the Minister of Public Health, Dr Malachie Manaouda.
Statistics presented at the meeting show between 2004 and 2020, the HIV prevalence rate dropped from 5,6 percent to 2,7 percent among persons aged between 15 and 49.
It was equally revealed the estimated number of new infections has also drastically dropped from 47,958 in 2004 to 11,175.
To the Minister of Public Health, these figures show that Cameroon is on the right path in its response against the pandemic.
Despite these improvements, challenges remain, such as reducing the prevalence rate among young girls aged between 15 and 24, who are nine times more infected than young boys in the same age group.
Thus, it is in view of taking stock of the activities carried out the previous year and to project into the future while appreciating the progress made in the implementation of the National Strategic Plan to fight against HIV, AIDS and STIs 2018-2022 that the various stakeholders met to brainstorm.
During the meeting, the 2021-2023 National Strategic Plan was adopted which is in line with the launch of the new funding cycle of the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis over the same period for an overall budget estimated at FCFA 164 Billion.
The plan adopted with the different strategies and interventions to be implemented, will ensure by 2023, the reduction by 60 percent of new infections, by 70 percent in HIV-related mortality, improve by 50 percent the quality of life of people infected and / or affected by HIV and increase by 50 percent the quality of governance of the national response.
To achieve this, the Minister of Public Health, President of the National Committee in the fight against HIV/AIDS, set new orientations within the framework of the priority interventions to be carried out in the field of response.
They include strengthening coordination between teams of the National Committee and the technical departments of Ministry of Public Health. The Minister also stressed increased coverage of antiretroviral among children, youth and adolescents, encouraging of self-testing as a complementary strategy aimed at increasing HIV serological knowledge, retention in the care and treatment of people living with HIV in the context of COVID-19; reduction in the incidence of HIV infection in young girls between the ages of 15 and 24 and others.
The joint action by all actors is necessary in the fight against the disease for the attainment by Cameroon of the three 95 global targets set for 2030, namely: 95 percent of persons living with HIV know their HIV status; 95 percent of persons who know they are HIV positive have access to treatment and 95 percent of persons on treatment have an undetectable viral load.