Posted by Justin on December 01, 2017

The National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council (NAC) has received an award of recognition from an international Non-Governmental Organisation, AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF), for providing effective leadership in the coordination of the HIV response in Zambia.

NAC was established in 2002 through an Act of parliament under the Ministry of Health to coordinate all players carrying out different activities in the HIV sector to ensure equitable provision of services across the country. The goal of NAC is total elimination of AIDS and associated opportunistic infections for the benefit of society.

The organization also serves as an advisory body to government in the area of resource mobilization, setting the research agenda and setting policies and guidelines on different interventions of the response across the continuum of care, prevention and treatment.

NAC Policy and Planning Director John Mwale who received the award on behalf of the organisation said the recognition will inspire NAC staff at all levels to work even harder to ensure a well-coordinated HIV response as it steers the country on a quest to end AIDS by 2030.

“This award will undoubtedly encourage staff to perform even more as they execute the coordination mandate of NAC knowing that their work is not going unnoticed,” said Mr Mwale.

Other institutional recipients of awards were the Ministry of Health for creating an enabling environment for stakeholders to operate under through provision of guidelines and policies and Chikankata Mission Hospital in Southern Province for being the longest partner of AHF servicing rural communities.

AHF also hailed the Minister of Health Dr Chilufya Chitalu who was represented by Director of Public Health and Research Andrew Silumesi for launching the Test and Treat programme which makes it possible to commence Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) immediately once a person is diagnosed HIV positive. This is a significant departure from the previous practice of linking initiation of treatment to CD 4 count status.

The Test and Treat drive is one of the key strategies Zambia hopes to depend to achieve the goal of ending AIDS by 2030 based on reduced new HIV infections and holding back people living with HIV from progressing to AIDS stage.

Individuals who received awards included founder of the Zambia AIDS Related Tuberculosis (TB) Project (Zambart), Helen Ayles for her leading role in research particulary in TB HIV co-infection and Zambian musician Brian Bwembya popularly known as B-Flow as an accomplished AHF Goodwill Ambassador using entertainment as platform to educate his fans on HIV and AIDS.  

The other recipient of an individual recognition award is Mary Adaire, a former employee of AHF who started the HIV Medic Training in Los Angeles, America. The HIV Medic Training is an initiative aimed at building capacity in lay health professionals to take on tasks ordinarily assigned to conventional medical professionals to increase the cadre of personnel handling HIV and related cases at lower training costs.

The awards to deserving organisations and individuals were given as part of AHF’s commemoration of its 10th anniversary in Zambia.

Compiled by the NAC Communications Unit