Harare Door to Door HIV Survey Launched

THE team conducting the 2019-2020 Zimbabwe Population HIV Based Assessment (ZIMPHIA) survey will be leading a door to door gathering and collating of HIV related data with the aim of assessing the progress as well as identifying gaps that could hinder the realisation of the 2030 goal of ending AIDS.

By Michael Gwarisa

The Harare launch follows the successful commencement of Phase 2 which kicked off after a short festive season sabbatical. Phase one to the survey was completed in December where a community response rate of at least 95 percent was realised.

Speaking at the launch of the Harare PHIA survey in Ruwa, Director ZIMPHIA Dr Munyaradzi Mapingure said results to the 2019-2020 survey would be released on December 1, 2020 on World Aids Day (WAD) while collection of data will end three months’ time.

A survey like this one is also happening in other countries and Zimbabwe is having a similar survey, one of the largest nationally representative survey where we will be going in people’s households seeking their consent to test them for HIV. We administer a questionnaire in the hope that we will have an understanding of the diseases at a national and sub-national level.

“The sub-national level that we refer to here are our provinces, so you will realise that our statistics can be presented by province. We will also measure the joint UNAIDS targets the 90-90-90 as of 2020 and we are hoping to have achieved 90-90-90 and I think we are almost there and also ambitiously reach the 95-95-95,” said Dr Mapingure.

ZIMPHIA Communications (Blue Golf T Shirt) shares a lighter moment with the ZIMPHIA Director Dr Munyaradzi Mapingure
ZIMPHIA Communications person Blessed Bhukosi Gumbi (Blue Golf T Shirt) shares a lighter moment with the ZIMPHIA Director Dr Munyaradzi Mapingure at the launch of the Harare HIV survey

The 2019-2020 PHIA survey is the second round and Zimbabwe led the 2015 survey and was the first country to conclude the survey out of the 13 countries that also conducted a similar survey. Five other African countries are also conducting the 2019-2020 national HIV and Aids survey.

In Zimbabwe, the survey will  assess the impact of HIV on a sample population of nearly 23 000 people aged 15 years and above from different parts of the country while 36 teams are already on the ground in other parts of the country gathering date for the survey. 24 teams are covering the Northern region while 12 teams are covering the Southern Region.

“This time around as we are implementing these surveys as six countries that is Zimbabwe, Eswathini, Malawi, Uganda, Mozambique and Lesotho, we are again the first country to actually roll out this survey, the others will follow.

“Despite some of the problems we might have as a country, we have many strengths and people often want to learn from us that’s why we are always being asked to lead these surveys.”

Other key areas for assessment of the survey include national HIV incidence rates, national and provincial prevalence rates, prevalence of HIV-related risk behaviours, coverage of mitigatory services and prevalence of resistant strain of HIV.

Dr Mapingure added that much of the survey’s focus will be on those individuals who are missing out in terms of treatment, viral load suppression and knowing one’s HIV status. He also said another objective of the survey was to examine the distribution of HIV in order to assess the coverage and impact of HIV services at a population level and to measure HIV related risk behaviours using a nationally representative sample.

“The other specific objectives of course are estimate the provincial level viral load suppression so that we get the highest sample size  such that all the other objectives can be covered. From that sample size, we will be  able to estimate the national HIV incidence and we will still need to document what the national and provincial HIV prevalence’s are and the risk behaviours and to assess the major drivers of HIV.

“We also want to see the coverage of HIV related services including HIV related services including HIV testing, counseling, knowledge of HIV status and treatment services,” said Dr Mapingure.

The survey is funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with technical assistance from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The government of Zimbabwe is also leading the survey in conjunction with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), National AIDS Council (NAC) and ICAP at Columbia University.

Meanwhile, National Aids Council (NAC) Director Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Mr Amon Mpofu said NAC would continue offering support to the ZIMPHIA team in order to ensure accurate and up to date data is gathered for better HIV and AIDS management at a national level.

Delegates follow proceedings at launch of Harare Door to Door HIV Survey
Delegates follow proceedings at the launch of Harare Door to Door HIV Survey

“In the last PHIA, the NAC supported the community sensitisation process and in this second round, we will continue to support all the processes until we get the final document. The goal of ZIMPIA is to examine the distribution of the epidemic and assess the coverage and impact of HIV services at population level,” said Mr Mpofu.

NAC Monitoring and Evaluation Director, Mr Amon Mpfofu
NAC Monitoring and Evaluation Director, Mr Amon Mpfofu

The ZIMPHIA results will also work to guide and direct funding towards covering the gaps that could reverse attainment of the 90-90-90s.

 

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