By Staff Reporter
US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Hastings has affirmed his country’s commitment to assist Zimbabweans living with HIV during a tour of Rujeko Polyclinic in Harare.
US support to healthcare facilities and the communities they serve across Zimbabwe enables HIV programmes to continue operating during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Rujeko Polyclinic, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), helps achieve HIV epidemic control in Zimbabwe by providing HIV prevention programs, care and treatment, electronic health records, viral load testing, and early infant diagnosis.
US support is provided in collaboration with the Health Ministry and NGO implementing partners.
Two CDC implementing partners provide health-related support to Rujeko Polyclinic: The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) and its consortium of local NGOs, the Zimbabwe Partnership to Accelerate AIDS Control (ZimPAAC), support clinical services; and ICAP at Columbia University supports the continued software development, hardware installation, and training of facility staff in the use of the electronic health record program.
CDC supports the development and roll-out of a comprehensive Zimbabwean electronic healthcare record system providing a holistic approach to quality patient care and improved tracking and monitoring of HIV, TB, and Covid-19 cases.
Since 2016, CDC has contributed more than US$15 million to strengthen electronic health information systems in Zimbabwe and will continue to collaborate with the Global Fund, World Bank, and other partners to support the roll-out of electronic systems to all of Zimbabwe’s 1 700 public facilities.
Following his tour, Chargé d’Affaires Hastings underscored the enormous contributions health professionals and implementing partners have made to ensuring HIV services continue during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said a lot has been done to preserve the HIV/AIDS gains made before the pandemic.
The United States continues to provide assistance to the people of Zimbabwe, with US$340 million contributed in 2020, of which US$230 million supported HIV programs.
In addition, the United States has committed to provide more than US$45 million for Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 response.
Chargé d’Affaires Hastings noted the positive impact these donations are making to the lives of Zimbabweans. More than 5,000 people receive HIV treatment each year at Rujeko Polyclinic through U.S.-supported implementing partners and NGOs.
Chargé d’Affaires Hastings recognized the HIV programme as an area where the United States coordinates well with the various stakeholders.
He highlighted how the US support that helped develop and implement a national Zimbabwean electronic health record system will, among other things, ensure that someone who moves locations and receives services at a new clinic is followed up in the continuum of care and that they are not lost and are not accounted for.
The United States remains committed to working with the Government of Zimbabwe, through the Health Ministry, multilateral organisations, and civil society organisations, to fight HIV/AIDS and other public health threats.
Support for resilient programmes helps Zimbabweans live safer, healthier, and longer lives.