Richard Muponde Gwanda Correspondent
MATABELELAND South remains saddled by the high burden of HIV and Aids prevalence and there is a need for continued leadership and resources to design more effective interventions, a government official said yesterday.
Officially launching the Zimbabwe Population based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA) survey in Gwanda, the Provincial Administrator, Mirdard Khumalo, said the survey was important as it would help shape national policies and programmes to confront the epidemic.
Participants in the ZIMPHIA survey will get free HIV testing and counselling in their homes and there will be syphilis testing for those aged 15 years and above.
The survey will also measure HIV prevalence in children, distribution of CD4+ cell counts among people living with HIV, prevalence of antiretroviral drug resistance, and prevalence of syphilis among adults and coverage of antiretroviral therapy in the country as well as nutrition in HIV-positive children.
Yesterday’s provincial launch was attended by Chiefs Maduna, Mathema, Wase, Madlambuzi and Sitaudze.
The provincial exercise, which is expected to take 30 days, is targeting 1,193 households.
Nationally, the survey is targeting 15,000 randomly selected households and is set to be concluded by June 30.
Khumalo said the survey was the first in the country to provide HIV and syphilis results as in previous surveys data was collected but participants were not given the results.
The PA urged people in Matabeleland South to cooperate as the survey was important for planning purposes.
“As a province it’s imperative that we understand the pandemic and its dynamics so that we better ourselves to deliver a killer blow by 2030,” said Khumalo.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care is leading the survey in partnership with ICAP at Columbia University, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other local partners such as the National Aids Council.