HIV death decline as 34 000 die annually – NAC

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

THE number of Zimbabweans succumbing to HIV and AIDS yearly has gone down due to various intervention programmes and national response strategies by National Aids Council (NAC).

According to NAC acting chief executive officer Albert Manenji, the number of people who were dying of HIV some eight years ago has gone down by more than 10 000.

“As you are aware that in 2010, the number of people who were dying of HIV and AIDS was 47 600,” Manenji said Tuesday at the launch of this year’s World Aids Day Campaign.

“And this number has actually gone down 34 000 in 2018 and for those who have been in trenches in the HIV and AIDS fight over the years, the year 2005, we had only 5000 people on treatment and as I am speaking today, we have 1.2 million people on treatment.

“We are saying that this is meant for us not to say we have done better, but it’s actually encouraging us to do much more.”

The NAC acting CEO said communities were a great pillar in terms of the national response strategy.

“It actually shows the work the different communities have made and actually in terms of the number of people who are being saved.

So, it is this sheer contribution that as we people within the world are now commemorating using the theme we are talking about.”

“So, at the end of the day, no communities should be left behind.”

Manenji said government policy has also contributed to the fight against the spread of HIV and new infections.

“In Zimbabwe, we don’t have any reason to leave any communities behind because our major underlying policy in terms of health is what we call the public health approach,” he said.

“Public health approach does not check who you are, what colour of skin you have, what religion do you go to, what are the issues you are aligned to.

“It only looks at your challenges and then you are supposed to be provided with services and when NAC was given the mandate to mitigate the spread of HIV, it was actually given on that basis.”

Manenji also unveiled this year’s theme, ‘Communities Making a Difference’ and announced that this year’s World Aids Day will be commemorated in Masvingo at Mucheke Stadium on 1 December.