by Staff Reporter
THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has praised Zimbabwe’s fight against HIV/AIDS as it revealed that the country is now providing antiretroviral treatment to more than one million people.
The number is up from just 12,000 on treatment in back in 2005. Life expectance has also increased from 41 years in 2003 to 61 years in 2015.
Again, better access to antiretroviral treatment has seen more than 49,000 deaths averted in 2016 alone and 393,000 deaths averted since 2006 in the country.
“This considerable achievement is the result of a determined effort to scale up the HIV response over the last decade and strong commitment from Government with support from development partners,” the UN agency said in a statement this Thursday.
“While HIV remains a major health challenge in Zimbabwe, with 1.3 million people living with HIV at the end of 2016, the dramatic scale up of the HIV response is remarkable.”
The UNDP said an additional $502 million in funding had been approved by Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) over the next three years.
The facility will be managed through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
“As a country, we have come a long way in addressing the challenge of HIV,” said the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Brigadier General Dr. Gerald Gwinji.
“The one million antiretroviral treatment milestone has been a remarkable journey, thanks to the effective leadership of Government and the good partnership with our development partners.
“We have in a decade, managed to turn the tide in the fight against this killer disease by boosting the resilience of our health care system and ensuring that effective services are available to those most in need including people living with HIV.”
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Zimbabwe Bishow Parajuli added, “Zimbabwe has made great strides in increasing access to treatment.
“This new milestone means that 1 million people living with HIV are now able to live longer, healthier and more productive lives.
“UNDP looks forward to continuing our strong partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe, the Global Fund, development partners, all components of the UN system, civil society and affected communities to help achieve SDG3 and make sure we leave no-one behind.”
Meanwhile, out of the total new funding, $426 million will focus on ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services, with an emphasis on eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and ensuring prevention programmes are serving adolescents, youth and key populations at higher risk of HIV.