By ZBC Reporter
As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating World AIDS Day, the President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa says the day offers the world an opportunity to re-double efforts towards ending the pandemic.
“Our great country Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Aids Day. The day offers the world an important opportunity to redouble efforts towards ending the HIV and AIDS pandemic. The HIV and AIDS pandemic remains one of the major developmental challenges facing the nation, “he said.
The President also spoke on the need to have all hands-on deck in fighting the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
“There is need for an integrated multi-sectoral approach that relies on robust, resilient health systems and an enabling social, economic and policy environment. To this end, my government has pursued reforms in the health sector and scaled up renovations and construction of new health facilities across the country to ensure universal health access and coverage, “he added.
The COVID-19 pandemic also came under the spotlight with the President highlighting how it has derailed progress in fighting the HIV and AIDS Pandemic.
“It is disheartening that the emergence of the CPVID-19 pandemic has curtailed access to treatment and other essential services for people living with HIV as well as HIV prevention services. In response Government introduced various innovative differentiated service delivery models to ameliorate the situation,” said the President.
As Zimbabwe aims to attain a digitalised society by 2030, President Emmerson Mnangagwa indicated the need for relevant stakeholders to adopt ICTs so as to halt the spread of the pandemic paying attention to high risk population groups.
“Riding on ICT enabled solutions and platforms challenge the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the National Aids Council and other partners to innovate and introduce more interventions to halt the spread of HIV. In that regard the thrust should target more adolescent girls and boys, artisanal miners, and other high-risk population groups,” he noted.
On the issue of funding HIV related programmes, he noted the need to come up with other funding mechanisms to cushion the AIDS Levy.
“I am fully aware that our ambitions in pursuit to end AIDS inequalities and other pandemics will require more resources. To this end, the AIDS Levy remains the primary funding source. Efforts to widen the scope of local resource mobilization are also being pursued.”
The World Aids Day Commemorations this year are running under the theme; End Inequalities; End AIDS; End Pandemics.
In fighting HIV and AIDS Zimbabwe has managed to reduce the incidence rate of HIV from 0.48% in 2016 to 0.27% in 2020, while prevalence rate has dropped from 13,9% to 11,8% during the same period.
The expanded access to Antiretroviral Therapy is up from 800,000 in 2016 to 1.2 million in 2021.