Richard Muponde Gwanda Correspondent
THE United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has praised Zimbabwe for its efforts in fighting HIV, leading to a drop in the prevalence rate.
The CDC’s Zimbabwe deputy director Laurie Fuller said this during the provincial launch of the Zimbabwe Population based HIV Impact Assessment (Zimphia) survey for Matabeleland South in Gwanda.
The survey results will be used for among others social services planning related to reducing HIV infections.
The Zimphia survey will also measure HIV prevalence in adults and children; syphilis prevalence in adults; prevalence of antiretroviral drug resistance; coverage of anti-retroviral therapy in the country as well as nutrition in HIV positive children.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care is leading the survey in partnership with ICAP at Columbia University, the CDC and other local partners such as the National Aids Council.
Fuller said Zimbabwe had reached a turning point.
“Zimbabwe is at a turning point where an Aids- free generation and an end to Aids deaths isn’t only possible but in sight. For decades the government of Zimbabwe with the support from the international community has been working hard to control the HIV epidemic. We’ve seen the national HIV prevalence come down from nearly 30 percent to less than 15 percent. HIV prevention and treatment efforts have been scaled up to an impressive rate in Matabeleland South,” said Fuller.
She said Zimbabwe was the torch bearer and through the Zimphia survey it was setting a record that would be copied by other countries.
“I want to congratulate Zimbabwe and Matabeleland South for continuing to lead the way and setting a high standard for these surveys. Not only will Zimphia advance HIV insights, programming and policy in Zimbabwe, it will also serve as a template and example for other African countries that will conduct similar surveys in the coming years,” said Fuller.
Speaking at the same function, ICAP country representative, Dr Godfrey Musuka said Zimphia had created more than 100 jobs for nurses who are part of the survey. He said as a household survey, the exercise ensures that families support each other. He said those who test positive for HIV would be referred for treatment and care.