Dar es Salaam, TANZANIA. In anticipation of World AIDS Day on December 1, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy to Tanzania Virginia Blaser visited the Tanzania Youth Alliance (TAYOA) on November 29 to launch the organization’s National Health AIDS Helpline (117) and mobile outreach bus. TAYOA CEO Peter Masika and Board Chairman Ambassador Charles Sanga welcomed Chargé Blaser and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Country Director Dr. David Lowrance.
During a tour of TAYOA’s offices, Chargé Blaser enjoyed a first-hand look at TAYOA’s helpline center. After inaugurating a new, treatment-focused hotline as part of the National Health AIDS Helpline, she donned a head-set and practiced fielding a call to get a true sense of how the service provides helpful and appropriate responses to callers’ treatment questions. She also participated in a live demonstration of TAYOA’s SMS text messaging service, and helped disseminate a targeted health message to 500,000 people.
Chargé Blaser engaged in a frank roundtable discussion with 20 social and community health workers, focusing on the issues of gender-based violence and efforts to encourage the new national and WHO-supported “Test and Start” guidelines. “Our goal is to achieve an AIDS-free generation in Tanzania, and it takes all of us to reach it – government, the private sector, partners, donors, and the American people working with the Tanzanian people,” Chargé Blaser emphasized.
Together with TAYOA CEO Peter Masika and Board Chairman Ambassador Charles Sanga, Chargé Blaser participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch TAYOA’s Community HIV Testing and Counseling Bus. The mobile testing center enables TAYOA to expand its reach by offering needed HIV testing and treatment referral services to under-served and hard-to-reach communities in Tanzania. In 2016, the U.S. Government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded TAYOA $1.8 million to provide HIV testing and counseling services for mobile and key populations in Tanzania.
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