THE second Zimbabwe Population based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA) 2020 survey has ended on a high note amidst indications that the survey managed to reach cover more than 19 000 households countrywide.
By Michael Gwarisa
The first phase of the survey which kicked off in November, 2019 is a population household survey led by the Health and Child Care Ministry working in collaboration with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), National Aids Council (Nac) and ICAP at the Columbia University.
Giving the keynote address on behalf of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) Director TB and HIV department, Dr Owen Mgurungi, Mr Ngwarai Sithole the ministry’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Officer said the end of the second survey will provide Zimbabwe with an opportunity to reflect on how far Zimbabwe has progressed by assessing the impact of our HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
Zimbabwe has over the years made significant milestones in HIV programming. Our national prevalence rate has drastically come down from a high of 29% in 1999 to the current 14.1% amongst the adult population aged 15-64 years.
“The incidence rate, that is, number of new HIV infections has gone down from 1.03% in 2010 to 0.42% in 2016. It is our hope that due to the hard work and dedication of all players in the health sector, incidence rates will further decline especially among our young people,” said Mr Sithole.
The second Population Based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) after the first successful assessment held in 2015/2016 with very good response rates countrywide. According to the ZIMPHIA 2015-2016 survey results, in Zimbabwe 77% of people living with HIV knew their status, 88% of those people were on treatment, and 85% of those people on treatment were virally suppressed.
ZIMPHIA 2015-2016 showed significant progress towards reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets by 2020 and the global target to end AIDS by 2030. Furthermore, it is our hope that results of ZIMPHIA 2020 which are expected to be shared by the 1st of December 2020 will usher us into the ambitious 95-95-95 targets by 2030.
“We also cannot continue to rely on our previous results and therefore ZIMPHIA 2020 will give us real time results which will inform current and future HIV programming interventions. Ladies and gentlemen, our goal in ZIMPHIA 2020 has been to examine the HIV situation by assessing the coverage and impact of HIV services at the population level and measuring the HIV-related risk behaviours using a nationally representative sample.
“We highly recognize the importance of this survey and I wish to applaud our communities, men, women and young people who overwhelmingly supported this assessment. Our highly trained teams of professionals visited selected households throughout the length and breadth of our country carrying out the assessment. We appreciate as a Ministry the support we got from community leaders and communities in support of ZIMPHIA 2020.”
He also applauded the local media for the positive coverage of ZIMPHIA 2020 and ensuring that communities are well informed about this assessment. Our teams exercised the highest professional conduct as is possible and maintained professional standards of confidentiality.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am quite optimistic that the results of ZIMPHIA 2020 will help us as a Ministry, key health authorities and policymakers to have a better understanding of the overall impact of HIV on the entire population of Zimbabwe, looking beyond people living with HIV.
“We are elated that ZIMPHIA 2020 provided technical assistance at the national level to strengthen data collection systems, enhance laboratory infrastructure, and strengthen local human resource capacity,” he said.
A total of 36 field teams were deployed during the survey. A total of 24 teams covered Mashonaland, Masvingo, Manicaland and Harare provinces while 12 teams covered Matabeleland, Midlands and Bulawayo provinces.
The population based HIV impact assessment was led by the Ministry of Health and Child Care led this premised on the successful partnership with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), National AIDS Council (NAC), ICAP at Columbia University and other strategic partners in our sector.
“In addition to this great partnership, I am grateful for the support that we have received as a Ministry to ensure that this nation-wide survey is not only possible, but comprehensive, successful and completed within record time.”
The next phase of the assessment is the data analysis and where preliminary results are expected be to published on the occasion of the World AIDS Day on the 1st of December 2020. ZIMPHIA 2020 was funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with technical assistance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
“Once again, I would like to thank you all for fully rallying behind this survey. I would also want to take this opportunity to wish all our teams the best in their future endeavours. I have no doubt that this assessment will open more professional doors for you as the PHIA surveys are recognized globally. Your hard work, dedication, zeal and professionalism is recognized and celebrated.
“Please keep up the good work and carry it onto the next assignments your professional careers will lead you. I do look forward to us coming back again together once the survey results are out, sharing the results with you all and jointly charting the way forward as we all seek to end AIDS by 2030.”