By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
A TOTAL of 32 new hospitals are earmarked for construction as the government expedites the reform of the health sector, which is currently grappling twin pandemics of HIV/AIDS and Covid-19.
Strengthening the health sector is now high on the agenda, with existing hospitals set for revamping and re-equipping.
In a speech to mark World Aids Day 2021 commemorations held in Chinhoyi Wednesday, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Health Minister, said despite disruptions wrought by Covid-19, new HIV infections among all age groups had drastically declined.
Health Deputy Minister John Mangwiro read the speech on behalf of Chiwenga who failed to pitch up as he was attending a Zanu PF Politburo meeting in Harare, which ushered new changes to the party’s organ.
“My ministry is spearheading construction of 32 new hospitals, refurbishing and equipping old ones to ensure that all our people access modern health care services and that all inequalities in access are shattered,” Chiwenga said.
“Despite the Covid-19 induced disruptions to HIV service delivery in 2020 our response to HIV has now rebounded and continued to firm.
“I am very pleased with the trajectory of new HIV infections which shows a continued decline for all age groups over the years”
Chiwenga underscored the need to scale up interventions among commercial sex workers, adolescent girls and young women as well as well as other key populations which account for new HIV infections.
“Evidence shows that although the general trend is going down we still have to optimise our interventions targeting sex workers, adolescent girls and young women.
“We now have to revolutionalise our response and address any structural delivery challenges that might hinder specific population sub groups from accessing and utilising HIV prevention services,” he said.
“The annual event was held under strict Covid-19 protocols under the theme, “End inequalities, End Pandemics, End Aids.”
This was the second consecutive year commemorations to reflect on progress towards eradicating HIV/ AIDS, were conducted during Covid-19 induced lockdown.