Africa Moyo, Deputy News Editor
The impression that Zimbabwe’s health sector is struggling, which is being propagated by the country’s detractors, was exposed by France President Emmanuel Macron who observed that Harare has deepened its fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
President Macron said this while addressing the Sixth Replenishment Conference organised by the Global Fund Forum in Lyon, France, on Thursday.
“Zimbabwe has improved its combat mechanisms in combating HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,” said President Macron while speaking in French.
President Mnangagwa is leading the Zimbabwe delegation at the Global Fund Forum.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, who also accompanied President Mnangagwa to the forum, confirmed on his twitter handle that President Macron had indeed praised Zimbabwe.
“President Macron mentioned Zimbabwe as a country that has done well in the area of HIV, TB and malaria control, and in the use of Global Fund resources,” tweeted Prof Ncube.
The Global Fund Forum in Lyon saw Governments, philanthropists and businesses pledging US$14,02 billion for the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB.
The target was to raise US$14 billion and the funds will be channelled towards saving 16 million lives and averting 234 million infections by 2023 in more than 100 countries that include Nigeria, Tanzania, DRC, Mozambique and Zimbabwe on the African continent.
President Mnangagwa acknowledged the crucial role played by the Global Fund in Zimbabwe’s health sector, and pledged US$1 million towards the organisation.
The Global Fund, which was created in 2002, is a partnership designed to accelerate the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in low and middle income countries.
Said President Mnangagwa: “Since 2002, the Global Fund has approved nearly US$1,7 billion to Zimbabwe, of which over US$1,3 billion has been disbursed.
“Let me express my profound gratitude for this invaluable support. As we build strong institutions, infrastructure and integrated services, we appeal for support and seek partnerships to strengthen primary healthcare, build and retain a competent health workforce to achieve Universal Health Coverage.”
He said early detection and surveillance systems of the three diseases was paramount.
President Mnangagwa said over and above the National Aids Trust Fund (NATF), the Government is developing a robust National Health Insurance Scheme and stepping up innovative domestic funding initiatives such as the traditional Aids levy and the new Health Levy, to ensure focus on the sustainability of Zimbabwe’s response.
More than 710 000 people are now supported by Global Fund in Zimbabwe out of 1,2 million people on Anti-Retro Viral Therapy.