By Byron Mutingwende
The United States (US) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been partnering the Government of Zimbabwe in providing critical HIV and AIDS interventions.
Obadiah Moyo, the Minister of Health and Child Care revealed this during PEPFAR’s 15th anniversary celebrations held at Batanai Gardens in Harare on 16 November 2018.
“The US government through the PEPFAR has been supporting the implementation of comprehensive HIV programmes in Zimbabwe since 2006. That’s a long time and a number of tangible milestones have been achieved.
“As we celebrate PEPFAR’s 15th Anniversary, I want us to celebrate the critical partnerships that exist between our governments. The collaboration between the PEPFAR team and my ministry in the development of the Country Operational Plan (COP) is amazing,” Minister Moyo said.
He appreciated the continued support for HIV and AIDS intervention that has seen PEPFAR supporting the initiative with more than $150 million.
Because of such partnerships, Zimbabwe is nearing epidemic control. The ministry of health has adopted the 90-90-90 strategy for epidemic control. The plan is to ensure that at least 90 percent of people living with HIV know their HIV status; 90 percent of those who know their status are on antiretroviral treatment (ART); and 90 percent of those on ART are virally suppressed and no longer spreading the virus.
“To achieve the 90 UNAIDS targets, my ministry is leaving no stone unturned as solutions to ultimately attain epidemic control are sought. I am impressed that PEPFAR has set its targets even higher –shifting from 90-90-90 to 95-95-95 to accelerate progress towards epidemic control.”
PEPFAR is reaching out to communities to ensure that they not only access antiretroviral therapy, but remain adherent to treatment and become virally suppressed. It has adopted differentiated models of care to enable people to access the much needed health services in the comfort of their homes.
The Jibilika Music Group provided entertainment at the PEPFAR anniversary celebrations and launched a song “Positivity” to highlight positive messages for people living with HIV.
PEPFAR Zimbabwe Director, Mark Troger, launched the 2019 Media Awards and encouraged journalists to tell stories about HIV prevention, care and treatment so as to save lives.