UN, UNDP boost Zimbabwe’s Aids fight
THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund have availed an additional $143 million to Zimbabwe to fight HIV and Aids in the country.
The additional funding to the Global Fund’s existing HIV grant to Zimbabwe, takes the grant total to $ 611 million.
According to a UNDP press release yesterday, the funding is aimed at strengthening its partnership with the Government to scale up the fight against HIV in Zimbabwe. The new funding will run from January to December 2017.
The UN agency said HIV and Aids remains a major public health challenge in Zimbabwe with statistics indicating that at least 1.4 million people were living with the virus at the end of 2015.
The UNDP said although the country has witnessed one of the sharpest declines in HIV prevalence in the Sadc region, at 15 per cent it remains among the highest HIV prevalence rates globally.
The HIV grant aims to increase access to HIV treatment, with a particular focus on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, expanding HIV testing and counselling services, and scaling up the prevention initiatives among adolescents and youth both in and out of school.
“This timely new funding will sustain and strengthen existing HIV prevention and treatment services in Zimbabwe. Significant advances have been made in recent years but we must not be complacent. Services must continue if we are to further reduce the rate of new HIV infections while also increasing the number of people initiated on to HIV treatment,” said Mr Bishow Parajuli, UNDP Resident Representative in Zimbabwe.
The existing HIV grant supports 880 000 people in Zimbabwe to access life-saving antiretroviral treatment.
“The grant will help to reduce the impact of the HIV epidemic and ensuring healthy lives for all, contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 on ensuring health and well-being for all,” said Mr Parajuli.