DAR ES SALAAM, The transmission rate of HIV/AIDS from mother to child in Tanzania has been reduced from 21 percent in 2009 to 7.6 percent in 2016, a senior official said.

Neema Rusibamayila, director for preventive services at the east African nation's Ministry of Health, attributed the achievement to government efforts to persuade pregnant women to test for HIV in clinics.

She told the parliamentary committee on HIV/AIDS in the country's political capital Dodoma that the ministry was implementing various interventions to minimize new HIV/AIDS transmissions from mother to child.

Angela Ramadhani, manager of the National AIDS Control Program (NACP), said HIV/AIDS cases in the country declined from 1.61 percent for each of 1,000 births in 2012 to at least 1.19 percent by 2016, adding that the target was to cut the rate to 0.16 percent.

Meanwhile, Laurean Bwanakunu, director general of the Medical Stores Department (MSD), decried the production of substandard drugs in the country.

"There is a need of attracting investors who have large capital in the field to overcome the challenge. Local medicine factories are letting us down as most of their products are poor. Even their packaging is poor," Bwanakunu said.

Special Seats MP Salma Kikwete urged the government to revive the Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industries, which also used to produce anti-retroviral drugs.

Chief Government Pharmacist Henry Irunde said plans are afoot to revive the Arusha-based plant next month.

Irunde said the government and other stakeholders are striving to ensure that at least 60 percent of all medicines are produced locally by 2020.