The National AIDS Council has revealed that 1,200,000 people in Zambia are HIV positive, making the country the one with the highest burden in sub-saharan Africa.

In a presentation at the four days Orientation of DACAs in HIV and AIDS multisectoral Coordination functions in the local Authorities workshop in Ndola, National Aids Council Centralized response coordinator William Sikazwe revealed that Zambia records 44,000 new cases annually.

“Zambia has the highest HIV burden in sub Saharan Africa at 11.4%. This is the seventh highest rate globally. The annual incidence of HIV among adults aged 15-49 is higher in women (1.08%) compared to men (0.33%). It is estimated 44,000 new cases annually. Out of the total population of the country, it is estimated to have an HIV population of 1,200,000,” revealed Sikazwe.

And NAC acting director Fortune Chibambo said placing activities aimed at fighting HIV at local authorities was aimed at achieving the decentralization policy.

“Citizens should have control of the local governance systems. It is therefore the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that there is coordination in the local authorities. HIV related functions should be devolved completely to fight the scourge,” Chibambo said.

Meanwhile, Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders Initiative for Community Action on AIDS at Local Level Zambia chapter president Nathan Chanda said the absence of District Aids Coordination Advisors was a challenge to fight against HIV at local levels.

“The coordination and management of HIV is now the responsibility of the local authorities. It is therefore important that mayors and chairpersons come up with committees to deal with matters of HIV and AIDS. DACAs appointment has come at a time that wr are preparing the 2019 budgets. Therefore we should include HIV and AIDS in the budgets,” said Chanda.

“The implementation of HIV/AIDs programs could not be achieved without the DACAs in the various districts. There was lack of HIV and AIDS coordination in district thereby defeating the fight against HIV. We need to end HIV and AIDS or reduce the vice in our districts.”