The United Republic of Tanzania is a coastal African country situated just south of the equator. Although the country is rich in minerals and fertile land, the AIDS epidemic has eliminated too many people in the most productive age group, 15-45, leaving children and the aged behind. The total populationof Tanzania is 42 million people, of whom 70% live on less than $2 per day.*
Since 1983 when HIV/AIDS was identified in Tanzania, many national and international NGO’s have been working on educating the population about prevention and helping those already infected. In Tanzania, AIDS is primarily a heterosexual disease with 60% of cases reported among women. Many of these women discover that they have HIV only when they come to clinics and hospitals to give birth, and over 1/3 of these will give birth to infected infants. In 2011, WHO estimated that 7% of the Tanzanian population was HIV positive. However, in the Arusha-Arumeru Districts where we work, the number of confirmed cases of HIV/AIDS is much higher, and we are seeing an increasing number of HIV-infected children. Now that antiretroviral drugs are widely available, and fewer people are dying of the disease, sub-Saharan Africa is bracing for an increase in the number of people who are living HIV positive. This means the world needs to increase the attention it pays to efforts that prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and support those families already living with the virus.
The Pamoja Project is meeting the challenge by supporting these loving and hopeful people in building a prosperous and productive future for all Tanzania.
*All statistics are taken from the UNAIDS Report, 2011.