New York - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund strengthened their partnership with additional funding of US$ 143 million to help scale up the fight against HIV in Zimbabwe.
HIV remains a major public health challenge in Zimbabwe with 1.4 million people living with HIV at the end of 2015. Even though the country has seen one of the sharpest declines in HIV prevalence in the region, at 15 per cent it remains among the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world.
The HIV grant aims to increase access to HIV treatment, with a particular focus on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, expanding HIV testing and counseling services, and scale up of prevention for adolescents and in and out of school youth.
"This timely new funding will sustain and strengthen existing HIV prevention and treatment services in Zimbabwe. Significant advances have been made in recent years but we must not be complacent. Services must continue if we are to further reduce the rate of new HIV infections while also increasing the number of people initiated on to HIV treatment," said Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Zimbabwe.
Implemented by UNDP, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the National AIDS Council and civil society organizations, the new funding will run from January 2017 through December 2017. The US$ 143 million is additional funding to the Global Fund's existing HIV grant to Zimbabwe, taking the grant total to US$ 611 million.
Zimbabwe has made great strides in the fight against AIDS, with the support of UNDP, the Global Fund and other development partners. The existing HIV grant supports 880,000 people in Zimbabwe to access life-saving HIV treatment. Between 2014 and 2015, retention of patients on HIV treatment has increased from 87% to approximately 90%, while the proportion of HIV-positive infants born to HIV-positive mothers has declined from 18% to 4% in the same period, corresponding to 14,000 new HIV infections of children being averted.
The grant will be key to reducing the impact of the HIV epidemic and ensuring healthy lives for all, contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 on ensuring health and well-being for all.