By Mary Taruvinga
THE United States government has approved financial aid of $230 million to support Zimbabwe’s fight against HIV, US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian A. Nichols has announced.
He said the fund would achieve HIV epidemic control through a comprehensive package of prevention, treatment, and support services.
“The collective vision and goals that guided the planning process reflect a programme that is evolving to sustain HIV epidemic control,” Nichols said.
“Zimbabweans living with HIV should now have ready access to their medications, including keeping a three-to-six-month supply in their homes so that they can stay on treatment.”
The funding of the US$230,373,521 project would run for one year from October 1 until September 30, 2021, and is now awaiting approval by U.S. Congress.
The new financial package represents a significant increase from last year’s budget of US$163 million.
“The annual plan reflects the strong coordination by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with key partners, including Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), the Global Fund, UNAIDS, and other multilateral health development partners,” a statement released by the US Embassy in Harare reads.
Since 1980, the US has provided more than US$1 billion in health assistance to strengthen Zimbabwe’s health system.
With 1.1 million Zimbabweans on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), the US says PEPFAR will continue to increase client access to viral load monitoring while strengthening and expanding efforts to improve retention of clients on ART and viral suppression, particularly among children, adolescents, and pregnant women.