Southern African health ministers to review progress on fight against major diseases

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-29 23:42:32|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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DAR ES SALAAM, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Health ministers from the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) 16 member countries will gather in Tanzania next month to review progress made in the fight against major diseases afflicting the region.

Ummy Mwalimu, Tanzanian Minister for Health, said on Tuesday that the ministers will review progress made on the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola and steps being taken toward improving nutrition.

"Strengthening of health systems and drug supply within the region will also feature in the meeting of SADC health ministers," she told journalists in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam ahead of the meeting scheduled from Nov. 4 to Nov. 8.

Mwalimu said the meeting, to be hosted by Tanzania as current chair of SADC, will also highlight on the importance of SADC countries to invest in the health sector.

She said: "We have a lot of strategies that countries have put in place in the fight against HIV/AIDS therefore this meeting is very important because we expect to discuss and share ideas on the best practices toward the fight against the disease."

Tanzania has made tremendous achievements in the fight against HIV, said Mwalimu, adding that prevalence has decreased from 7 percent in 2003 to 4.7 percent currently.

On malaria, she said the disease was still a challenge in the SADC region, however, Tanzania has managed to reduce malaria prevalence from 14 percent in 2015 to 5 percent in 2017.

On Ebola, Mwalimu said the health ministers will discuss on the best ways of tightening preparedness and response measures along borders to ensure the disease was controlled.

The east African nation recently refuted reports indicating that there was an outbreak of the disease.

Tanzanian health authorities said there was no Ebola outbreak in the country and urged people to trash rumors on social media about the outbreak of the deadly virus.