UNDP Hands Over ART Sites and Pharmacy Stores To Health Ministry

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) this morning handed over 40 new and refurbished Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) sites and 52 Pharmacy stores aimed at improving Tuberculosis (TB) infection control among people living with HIV.

By Michael Gwarisa

The development comes at the back of indications that the old ART sites and pharmaceutical stores were struggling to cope with increased demand of ART services as well as TB medication services owing to the high TB and HIV burden the country is still faced with.

Speaking at the official handover ceremony on behalf of health minister, director preventive services in the ministry of health and child care (MoHCC), Dr Gibson Mhlanga said the new ART sites and pharmaceutical stores were a welcome development which would transform fortunes of the health sector.

Dr Mhalnga and UNPD’S Bishow Parajuli during a tour of the facilities

“As you know, Zimbabwe remains one of the countries in the world heavily burdened by HIV/AIDS and TB. According to the Zimbabwe Population -based HIV and AIDS impact Assessment Survey (ZIMPHIA) conducted in 2016/17, the annual incidence of HIV was found to be 0.48 percent while the HIV prevalence was 13.8 percent in the 15-49 year age group.

“The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in partnership with UNDP provided infrastructure support for the renovation of 40 health facilities providing ART with the aim of improving TB infection control among people living with HIV that are high risk groups for contracting TB,” said Dr Mhlanga.

According to an Ernest and Young assessment of 52 facilities across the country which was conducted in 2013, and another one which was done in 2014, storage facilities at pharmaceutical stores was inadequate and there was no way of measuring storage conditions and there was continuous power outages which compromised the quality of medicines upon issuing to patients.

He added that the renovations at the ART sites will reduce morbidity and mortality from TB and other infectious diseases among people living with HIV hence supporting the MoHCC in improving infection prevention control (IPC) in healthcare facilities nationwide.

“This will contribute towards the attainment of the Sustainable development goal (SDG No3 for Zimbabwe. Under the new funding model of the Global fund HIV/AIDS grant in Zimbabwe, UNDP also supported the MoHCC to strengthen the health systems, including the supply chain management systems, health information, financial management systems, health information, financial management, laboratory among others.

“Pharmaceuticals and health products account for almost 80 percent of the procurement and supply management (PSM) component of the Global fund grants. A total of 52 pharmacy stores were renovates to ensure that storage conditions at service delivery points (SDPs) are appropriate therefore preserving the integrity of these life saving commodities and also helping to assure the quality of medicines when issued to patients,” added Dr Mhlanga.

A total of 40 renovated ART sites to improve TB control, 52 renovated Pharmacy stores, Air conditions for renovated stores, shelving for the renovated stores and fridges and other essential commodities for the stores were handed over to to the ministry of health and ceremony.

UNDP resident coordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli also applauded the move and called on government to invest heavily in the health sector as well as increase domestic funding to the fight against HIV.

“The Global Fund funding of over a billion dollars has played an immense role in reducing suffering, reducing death, cutting down orphans and the possibility of people living with HIV (PLHIV) to lead normal lives because of this. And the reference of over 1.2 million patients under the ARV drug and continuous improvement in the medicine to a better quality and services follows work like these we are trying to celebrate today.

“I want to also commend in the context of this, the leadership of the government, the ministry of health, and everyone who has immense role to play in the fight against HIV. Let me also applaud some of the systems which have been established to improve on these works so that you don’t depend on external aid but you have introduced levies and tax to support HIV initiative,” he said.

He also applauded government for incre3asing funding to the health sector in the national budget saying it was a positive step towards meeting the Abuja target.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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