THE United States Government (USG) through the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2019 contributed an amount to the tune of US$163 million to scale up HIV interventions in Zimbabwe’s communities.
By Michael Gwarisa recently in Masvingo
Speaking at the 2019 World Aids Day (WAD) commemorations in Masvingo, the US Deputy Chief of Mission in Zimbabwe, Mr Thomas Hastings said communities needed to be capacitated to fight the HIV scourge at grassroots level.
We have come a long as a partnership between the people of Zimbabwe and the people of the United States. I am very proud at the role that my government has played in this effort. In 2019, the US government contributed US$163 million to the fight against HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe.
“Since the beginning of PEPFAR, the American people have contributed US$1 billion just here in Zimbabwe as part of that effort. It is however important to remember the theme of this year’s World Aids Day (WAD) celebrations. The theme of this year is not government makes a difference. We work very hard as the US Embassy in Harare, the honourable minster of health also works very hard but none of that work matters or makes any difference without the work of the community,” said Mr Hastings.
PEPFAR has been implementing comprehensive HIV programs in Zimbabwe since 2006 through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the goal of realizing an AIDS-Free Generation and achieve epidemic control.
Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Obadiah Moyo thanked the American government for their support in fighting HIV in communities and pledged government’s support to ensuring the fight against HIV is won.
“The USG Deputy Chief of Mission has told us that the American government has given us a lot of money US$163 million. That is a lot of money, we want to thank him for that. He said its over US$1 billion since they started working in Zimbabwe.
“Our theme this year is communities make a difference with this theme we are celebrating the contribution communities have made over the decades. We all recall when HIV was first discovered, when there was no treatment and our people died in thousands per week due to HIV, communities remained at the forefront of the response looking after the sick and advocating for better services including optimal financing,” said Dr Moyo.
Meanwhile, UNAIDS Zimbabwe country director, Mr Martin Oditt Said communities were the backbone to epidemic control and should be supported at all levels to ensure the battle against HIV/AIDS is won.
“Women and girls are the backbone for care and support in their families and communities, providing and playing an often undervalued work in caring for children the sick, the elderly and the disabled and underpinning fragile socio-support systems.
“The involvement and participation of communities is vital in the response of HIV. Communities have organised themselves to fight for their rights to equal health access. For far too long, we have taken communities voluntarism for granted,” said Mr Oditt.