Vice President Chiwenga bemoans Covid-19-induced HIV/AIDS regression
Mukudzei Chingwere in DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania
World governments, including Zimbabwe lost considerable ground on the progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS when they were caught off-guard by the Covid-19 pandemic and global health leaders now need to be proactive, pick up the pieces and forge ahead with the HIV/AIDS fight, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.
VP Chiwenga said this here when he addressed health leaders attending the political launch of the Global Alliance to end HIV/AIDS in children by 2030 under the auspices of UNAIDS, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
VP Chiwenga said a lot of progress had been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS particularly as it relates to children but the world was forced into an unavoidable but costly refocus occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic which ravaged the world.
“We got affected, just like any other country, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit us,” VP Chiwenga told attendees at the launch.
“People concentrated on treating and containing the spread of Covid-19 and we completely forgot about HIV; that we were still with it,” he said.He said during the Covid-19 pandemic, an 8,9 percent vertical rise in transmission of HIV was recorded and mother-to-child transmission which had been put in serious check also rose but Government stepped up efforts to slash it to below five percent, aiming for subsequent elimination.
“At the end of this meeting, let us come up with concrete measures which will make sure the spread of HIV/AIDS is brought to a halt,” said VP Chiwenga before articulating some of the measures Zimbabwe is implementing for global adoption.
Zimbabwe has made considerable progress in its quest to achieve the 95 95 95 UNAIDS target and is leading global peers in the fight against the virus in children.
Although the country has gotten UN agencies’ commendation for its strategies, Government is not happy with the statistics that show that only 73 percent of children living with HIV/AIDS are on therapy and is eager to push this number up.
Meanwhile, VP Chiwenga and his delegation are still seized with UNAIDS meetings and he is also expected to attend economic diplomacy meetings in line with President Mnangagwa’s directive that Government officials should, at every turn, seek opportunities that better the economy.