Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Zimbabwe has joined five other African countries in conducting a door-to-door national HIV and Aids survey aimed at assessing progress towards achieving global targets to ending HIV by 2030.
Launched in Harare last Friday and scheduled to begin in November, the six-month Zimbabwe chapter will assess the impact of HIV on a sample population of nearly 23 000 people aged 15 years and above from different parts of the country.
Other key areas for assessment include national HIV incidence rates, national and provincial prevalence rates, prevalence of HIV-related risk behaviours, coverage of mitigatory services and prevalence of resistant strain of HIV.
In his key note address during the launch of the survey titled: “Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA)” head of Aids and TB Unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Owen Mugurungi said the survey results will go a long way in coming up with relevant programming for the national HIV response.
“We need to continue to scale up on our innovations and best practices and ensure that we are reaching all key and vulnerable populations that are at high risk and ensure that we provide relevant HIV services and products,” he said.
“We also cannot continue to rely on our previous results and therefore the need to carry out another assessment and have the latest picture of the impact of the HIV epidemic in Zimbabwe.”
Funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), with technical assistance from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the survey will be led by Government working in conjunction with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), National AIDS Council (NAC) and ICAP at Columbia University.
Unlike other surveys such as the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey and national estimates, ZIMPHIA is specific to HIV and syphilis and involves a larger sample size.
This is the second time the country is conducting such an assessment following success of the initial one which was done in 2016, from which Zimbabwe became the first country in Africa to conduct such a survey.