The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Zim to introduce new funding for HIV

- Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Health Reporter

ZIMBABWE continues to work towards introducin­g a more encompassi­ng social health insurance scheme that will complement the National Aids Trust Fund and other funds from developmen­t partners to mobilise resources for the national HIV response.

Secretary for Health and Child Care Dr Aspect Maunganidz­e, who was represente­d by chief director human resources Dr Simon Nyadundu, spoke on the additional measures at the close of the Going the Last Mile for HIV control project and launch of the Preventing HIV for Sustainabl­e Epidemic Control programme (PREVENT) on Monday.

The health insurance scheme was proposed as part of efforts to protect communitie­s from catastroph­ic costs associated with seeking health care in the country.

“The gains made in the HIV response feed into our National Health Strategy vision which remains the highest possible level of health and quality of life for Zimbabwean­s,” he said. “We seek to shift from vertical funding for health specific areas to a more horizontal response to make access easier, and to serve Zimbabwean­s more holistical­ly.

“The Ministry will continue to promote healthy life choices to reduce disease burden for Zimbabwean­s and the burden on the health system and our health workforce. Government is planning to increase the domestic contributi­on to essential programmes like community health.”

Dr Maunganidz­e acknowledg­ed the support of PEPFAR through USAID and the US CDC which has greatly contribute­d to the country’s HIV response.

Funding from the partners has seen over two million Zimbabwean men and boys receiving essential but voluntary medical male circumcisi­on, improved access to condoms, contracept­ives and pre-exposure prophylaxi­s for over one million vulnerable adolescent girls and young women and increased access to antiretrov­iral treatment among other interventi­ons.

“We are confident that the ongoing partnershi­p with PEPFAR through USAID and with Population Solutions for Health will continue the decades long record for technology innovation, market developmen­t, evidence-based and differenti­ated service delivery, including self-care and digital health, all for person centred programmin­g under PREVENT,” he said.

The PREVENT programme is expected to build upon the successes of its predecesso­r, the Last Mile programme which was a US$157 million eight-year programme that sought to strengthen private sector services.

It served more than 700 000 adolescent and young girls, men and boys and key population­s.

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