MORE than 95 percent of targeted people were tested for HIV in the first phase of the Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (Zimphia) 2020 drive.
The high response rate has been attributed mostly to positive and widespread media coverage.
The Zimphia 2020 study, launched in Harare last year, is a population household survey led by the Health and Child Care Ministry working in collaboration with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), National Aids Council (Nac) and ICAP at Columbia University.
It seeks to measure HIV-related risk behaviours using a nationally representative sample.
In an interview yesterday, Zimphia communication officer Mr Blessed Gumbi said the first phase of the survey covered most of the targeted provinces, with the remaining communities being the main focus during the second phase which commenced last week.
“To date, almost all the provinces have had the survey teams working there with the majority of the work done in Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North, Mashonaland Central and Matabeleland South,” he said.
“The rest of the provinces will be covered in phase two of the survey including the two metropolitan provinces Bulawayo and Harare.
“We have 36 field teams for the survey. A total of 24 teams are covering Mashonaland, Masvingo, Manicaland and Harare provinces while 12 teams are covering Matabeleland, Midlands and Bulawayo provinces.
“So far, communities have been receptive of the programme and our response rates are over 95 percent. Response rates to consent for interviews were 90 percent for males and 93 percent for females in the first phase of ZIMPHIA 2020 from November to December 2019.”
Mr Gumbi commended the media for playing a critical role in raising awareness in communities on Zimphia 2020.
“The success of phase one of the Zimphia 2020 is attributed to a number of factors,” he said.
“Key among these include high level engagements with policy makers at national and provincial level including the resident ministers, provincial medical directors, development coordinators, the National AIDS Council and other critical stakeholders.
“The media, that is, print and broadcast has been instrumental in raising awareness on Zimphia 2020 with Zimphia jingles and theme song playing on all national radio stations.”
The Zimphia 2020 HIV study is supported by the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Zimphia 2020 is aimed at measuring the country’s progress toward UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 goals, as well as guiding policy and funding priorities.
The UNAIDS targets that in 2020, 90 percent of people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 percent of people who know their HIV-positive status will be on treatment, and 90 percent of people on treatment will have a suppressed viral load.