By Nation Reporter
A NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation has called for increased advocacy on guardians and parents with HIV-positive children to take them to clinics for routine anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
In an interview, Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) executive director Lucy Lungu said Zambians have a problem in that they do not take the treatment of their own children seriously.
“That’s where we come in as a non-governmental organisation – to advocate for or see to it that children are given that priority because if you are taking care of a child who is positive it means a lot,” she said.
She said advocacy work should be enhanced. She further stressed that the organisation made sure it reached out to see to it children were given priority on the agenda.
‘‘There are many children now who are born HIV- positive. Some get it a little later but we have quite a number of them who are born with it,’’ she said.
Ms Lungu said it was vital that children who were infected through mother-to-child transmission received treatment to keep them healthy.
According to reports, more than 80,000 adolescents in Zambia are living with HIV, who need to know their HIV status and to access treatment services. Zambia’s Demographic Health Survey report for 2013-14 indicates that only 40-60 per cent of people across the country get tested.
That means about 500,000 people in Zambia do not yet know their HIV status. There was urgent need to ensure that these people get tested and accessed treatment services.