- Tanzanian authorities are disturbed by the increasing number of teachers killed by HIV/AIDS. According to the latest report, between 1996 and 2006, 193 teachers died of HIV and AIDS-related diseases in the country's south-western district of Mbeya alone.
With a population of 38 million, it is estimated that over two million Tanzanians are carrying HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Adrehem Kayombo, the District Council Education Officer for Mbeya, predicted that the death toll could become higher this year thus negatively impacting on the education sector in the area. The district is said to have registered the highest number of teachers infected with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.
On average, between 1996 and 2006, 18 teachers died of AIDS-related diseases annually. At the present, the disease has sent 109 teachers to the hospital. Despite dedicating huge amounts of their time for treatment, these teachers are still on the payroll.
Tanzanian authorities are equally worried about the acceleration of tuberculosis (TB), which rose from 39,000 a decade back to over 64,000 in 2005 - a trend blamed on the high prevalence of the global AIDS pandemic.
The Tanzanian Health Minister, David Mwakyusa, said in line with the 2003-04 survey in Tanzania confirmed that HIV/AIDS had become the main contributor to the increase of 60 percent of the TB cases.
He said the fact that more than 30 percent of AIDS patients die of TB, his country's health sector is limping with its biggest health challenge. TB is easily caught when the body's immune defence has been almost deleted by the HIV virus.
Health Minister Mwakyusa added that there was now a need for the coordination to wage war against both diseases since they often attack a person simultaneously.
Besides, officials of Mbeya suspect that 106 of the district's TB carrying teachers might have been HIV positive as well.
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