President Peter Mutharika says Malawi and its development partners will actively pursue the goal of defeating HIV and Aids by 2030 by ensuring that the outstanding gains achieved in the fight against the condition are not reversed.
The President said this on Tuesday when he held discussions with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids) deputy executive director Jan Beagle, who is also the UN assistant secretary general, at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.
Mutharika, who commended UNAids and other partners for making Malawi achieve trail-blazing feats such as reducing mother-to-child infections and curbing new HIV infections and Aids-related deaths, stressed that the fight against the pandemic needs to be stepped up significantly.
He said: “If we do not fast-track, we risk reversing the gains that we have made. I can assure you that this will not happen under my leadership and that I am personally committed to putting this country on a strong path to end Aids by 2030.”
Describing UNAids as a distinguished global leader in the HIV and Aids response, and a close partner for Malawi, the President noted that HIV treatment has increased by 82 percent since 2011.
He also observed that the nation’s reduction of the mother-to-child infections is the highest decline in all the 22 high priority countries in the world.
About 600 000 people are on antiretroviral therapy in the country. This represents more than half of an estimated 1.1 million Malawians living with HIV.
In response, Beagle commended Malawi for being a beacon of hope in the fight against HIV and Aids and also for ascending to the UNAids Board.