UN, UNDP boost Zim­babwe’s Aids fight

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Chron­i­cle Re­porter

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.

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