RUJEKO Polyclinic, a council primary health care facility in Dzivarasekwa, Harare has through interventions from the United States Government (USG) attained 68% Viral Load Coverage (VLC), 96% viral suppression levels as well as increase access to Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) to not less than 5039 people living with HIV around its catchment area.
By Michael Gwarisa
The Polyclinic’s catchment area has a total population of 88, 271 consisting of mostly low income and poor communities and HIV programs at Rujeko Polyclinic are being supported mainly by the U.S President’ Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC-Zimbabwe).
Briefing Journalists after a tour of Rujeko Polyclinic, Acting US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Thomas Hatsings said they will continue working with Zimbabwe in advancing and improving access to quality healthcare services for citizens.
This clinic is just a snapshot of the work that the US supports all over the country. There are 5039 Zimbabweans living with HIV who receive their treatment here at this clinic, they receive their follow-up care at this clinic, they are tested for their viral load here at this clinic and if they are in need of additional counselling, they receive that here and all of this work is done through the support of the USG,” said Mr Hastings.
Some of the partners working and implementing programs at Rujeko clinic include the Zimbabwe Partnership to Accelerate AIDS Control (ZimPAAC), the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) and many other Non-Governmental Organisations. CDC and ICAP are supporting the collection of patient level data using the Electronic Health Record (EHR), a system that supports the improvement of the quality of patient care.
Mr Hastings added that the USG support to the government of Zimbabwe totaled US$340 Million in 2020.
“I talk to some Zimbabweans who say, “But where is that money going?” The answer that I always like to give them is that you do see where the money is going, it’s right in front of you but maybe you just don’t know what you are looking at.
“If you see this clinic and if you walk past this clinic or any other clinic in Zimbabwe that we support, if you have a family member or friend who is living with HIV and if you receive these forms of treatment that we are offering, that is part of the support the USG is giving you so as to live healthy and productive lives.”
Meanwhile, Dr Michael Vere, an Epidemiologist with the City of Harare said, “Through support from PEPFAR and its partners here, we have done very well in terms of some of the indicators that we track especially with regards to HIV and also with regards to cancer screening. For example, with HIV, we are seeing that we are achieving targets for viral load, we are achieving targets for HIV testing, we are also achieving our targets for the viral load coverage.
“Even in terms of the Cervical Cancer Screening, we have also achieved our target especially for treatment. You find that the minimum required is 75% and we have been able to surpass that treatment for Cervical Cancer lesions that are diagnosed in our various units. Those are some of the impacts we have seen in terms of the support from PEPFAR.”