On June 30, 2023, Policy Forum in partnership with Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) hosted a dialogue with the objective of sharing effective approaches for integrating male-friendly services into existing healthcare services to improve service uptake and health outcomes as part of holistic care to men.
Presenting at the Policy Forum Breakfast Debate, Northern Coor¬dinator for Gender, Youth and Social issues Frederick Maguhwa highlighted the USAID funded projected Afya Yangu based in the Northern regions of Tanzania (Arusha, Dodoma, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, and Singida) which recommended that the government should encourage effective use of professional development opportunities to enhance knowledge and skills to health providers to adequately address health needs among men.
Maguhwa stated the need to improv¬e communication with male patients and addressing the issue of stigma, noting that masculinity beliefs have triggered men's fear of HIV stigma, therefore opting to abandon testing.
According to UNAIDS 2022 Report; the number of new HIV infections among all ages declined by 44% from 2010 to 2021 38% among women versus 52% among men. Due to men's reluctance in getting tested against different epidemics, the majority in Sub-Saharan Africa remain ignorant of their HIV status.
Moreover, Maternal and Child Health Care Coordinator, Singida Christoweru Emmanuel further highlighted that on average, men have poorer health outcomes than women and have less access to a wide range of healthcare services such as screening and helplines (AIHW 2011). Although the government has integrated health services for men to participate, men remain reluctant.
Christoweru advised that men should take opportunity on the services that the government of Tanzania have put in place and do away with masculinity ideology with regards on health screening to improve testing, prevention, and treatment
With health targets set for Agenda 2030, seven years are left for Tanzania to realise the 95-95-95 target of ending the HIV/AIDS. The first 95 percent stands for diagnosed people with HIV/Aids, 95 percent of those diagnosed that have been enrolled for antiretroviral therapy (ARV) and 95 percent of those on ARV with suppressed viral load. The World Bank (WB) estimates that with the ongoing trend, the world is likely to fail to achieve the target of ending the HIV/Aids epidemic by 2030.
We need to improve health status for all Tanzanians include enhanced enabling environment for health service provision, upgrading availability of quality, integrated health services at the family level and increased access to health services at the community level.