By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
Chingola Correctional facility officer In-charge Kennedy Samakayi says that World AIDS day highlights the urgent need to end the pandemic.
Speaking during the commemorations of World AIDS day at the Correctional Facility organized by In But Free, Mr Samakayi said through the sensitization activities by In But Free, there has been a reduction of HIV among the inmates.
Mr Samakayi said that without adequate fight against HIV in prisons, it will be difficult to end HIV and AIDS by 2030.
He said that the open door policy that correctional facilities have introduced, has been it made possible for inmates to be sensitized about issues surrounding the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Mr Samakayi was grateful to the In But Free organization for lifting inmates spirits through encouragements.
Speaking at the same event, In but Free Director Nawa Sanjobo said that the organization celebrates World AIDS day with inmates to raise awareness.
Mr Sanjobo said that the pandemic could kill a lot of people in the coming years if people do not act with urgency.
“Globally, we are not bending the curves fast enough to stop the AIDS pandemic, Zambia has made remarkable progress, showing us that it is possible to end AIDS by 2030,” he said.
Mr Sanjobo said this year’s World AIDS day highlights the urgent need to end the inequalities that drive AIDS and other pandemics.
He said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a lot of significant risks that politic attention to financing for HIV will drift.
Mr Sanjobo said the damage done to HIV programs by the coming of Covid-19 has significantly affected service delivery.
‘Ending inequalities requires transformative change, political, economic and social policies need to protect the rights of everyone and pay attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized communities,” he said.
And Prisons Clinic Assistant Superintendent Beatrice Chabu thanked In But Free for helping inmates with food essentials and other basic commodities needed to survive.
Ms Chabu also called upon all inmates to ensure that they know their HIV statuses by getting tested.
She said that AIDS can only end by 2030 if every person knows their statuses.
Ms Chabu said that in the past 3 months, 144 inmates were tested for HIV, 29 were positive and the 29 that tested positive were immediately put on ART.
She also urged the inmates to get vaccinated against the Covid-19 so that they are protected in incarceration.
This year’s annual World AIDS day is commemorated under the theme “End inequal;ities, End AIDS, End pandemics.”