Paidamoyo Chipunza and Sibongile Maruta—
The Global Fund to fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria yesterday availed a $502 million grant to the Government of Zimbabwe towards HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. The grant will run for the next three years. It is expected to sustain gains achieved in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria. Out of the total funding, $426 million will focus on ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
This will include specific focus on eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission and ensuring prevention programmes are serving adolescents and youths and key populations mostly at risk of HIV. Speaking at the official signing ceremony of the grant in Harare yesterday, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa applauded the Global Fund for its continued support.
“We are indeed grateful to The Global Fund for allocating that amount to our country. Over the years The Global Fund has increased its support to become the largest donor partner in the entire health sector in Zimbabwe. This is very commendable,” said Dr Parirenyatwa. He said this support will go a long way in contributing towards the country’s attainment of set global targets.
“With support from the grant we are signing today and support from other partners, the country’s priority is to be able to sustain the gains made so far through optimisation of grant and Government resources. The country remain committed to the 90-90-90 targets for HIV, the malaria pre-elimination agenda and the stop TB targets of ending TB by 2030,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
The 90-90-90 targets seeks to have at least 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status, of those who know their status, 90 percent of them should be on antiretroviral drugs and from those on treatment 90 percent of them should have their viral load suppressed. Dr Parirenyatwa said over the years, Government had made tremendous progress in revamping the health sector with notable achievements in domestic health financing and unfreezing of posts.
He vowed to ensure that resources provided by the Global Fund are put to good use. Speaking at the same occasion,the Global Fund representative Mr Mark Edington commended the country for registering progress in the health sector. He said the Global Fund was committed to assist Zimbabwe. Mr Edington said given the country’s history in fighting the three diseases, the Global Fund was confident that Zimbabwe will achieve the United Nations 90-90-90 targets.
“We will continue looking up to Zimbabwe in its leadership in reducing new HIV infections,” he said. He said while the Health Levy and the Aids Levy were commendable initiatives for domestic funding, the country could do more to ensure sustainability. United Nations resident coordinator Mr Bishow Parajuli, whose organisation is the Fund manager, said the UN was proud to be a strategic partner in managing the grant.
He said through the partnership, the UN was supporting capacity strengthening in public finance system, internal audit and also ensuring value for money. US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jnr said through transparency, accountability, and the power of partnership, the grant could accelerate progress, even within a context of financial constraints and economic challenges.
“The US Government applauds Zimbabwe for developing a technically sound proposal and being a successful early applicant to the new funding model,” he said. America, France and UK are the biggest contributors to the Global Fund. They account for at least 50 percent of the resources in the Fund. In Zimbabwe, the Global Fund is the major financier in the health sector.