A ceremony to mark the award of US $ 502 million additional healthcare funding from the Global Fund to Zimbabwe was held in Harare today. The grants which will be implemented by the Ministry of Health and Child and Child Care (MOHCC) and UN in collaboration with Civil Society Organizations and the National AIDS Council (NAC) will support HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria programmes for the next three years.
UNDP is the principal recipient of the grants.
Out of the total funding, US$ 426 million will focus on ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services. This will include a specific focus on eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission and ensuring prevention programmes are serving adolescents and youth and key populations most at risk of HIV.
The grant signing ceremony was witnessed by the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Major General, Dr Gwinji, the Global Fund Head of Grant Management, Mr Mark Eldon-Edington, Country Coordination Mechanism Vice-Chair, Dr A.M. Senderayi and the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Bishow Parajuli.
“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 optimization of grant and government resources. The country remains committed to the 90-90-90 targets for HIV, the malaria pre-elimination agenda and the stop TB targets of ending the TB epidemic by 2030,” said the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa.
“The UN is pleased to be strategic partners in supporting the Government in improving the health care in general and in the three diseases – Malaria, TB and HIV. Through this partnership, we have brought innovations through new technologies such as solar for health equipment,” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Bishow Parajuli. “We are also supporting capacity strengthening in public finance management system, supply chain system and internal audit and ensuring value for money and significant savings through procurement and supply chain and low management cost” explained the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative.
Zimbabwe has made considerable progress in its response against malaria, HIV and TB and in building resilient and sustainable systems for health (RSSH). HIV prevalence has decreased by 28% over the last decade, TB incidence has dropped by nearly 60% over the same period, and investments made in improving quality of care such as integrated electronic patient tracking system. In terms of malaria, the country has increased the number of districts classified in pre-elimination strata from 7 in 2014 to 22 by December 2016, with mortality declining by 57% from 1,069 deaths in 2003 to 462 deaths in 2015.
Commending the government of Zimbabwe for its leadership in the fight against the three diseases, Mr Mark Eldon-Edington, who is Global Fund Head of Grant Management also hailed the multi-stakeholder partnertship in the country for contributing to the remarkable results. “With the new grants agreements we confirm today, we seek to expand prevention, treatment and support services to accelerate the effort to end these diseases as public health threats”.
“The Global Fund will continue to look to Zimbabwe for its leadership in innovative approaches to maximize health outcome” he said adding that the country’s ongoing leadership in domestic financing through the AIDS Levy and in adopting innovative approaches to maximise health outcomes is “most critical as we seek to optimize our collective investments”.
Highlighting that the new funding will help to save 8 million lives, avert 300 million infections, and help build resilient and sustainable systems for health, Dr Joanne Abbot, Acting Head DFID Zimbabwe underlined the need to link the work on these diseases with the Leave No-one Behind ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We know that HIV places a disproportionate burden on women, including the profile of new infections in Zimbabwe. While most new TB cases are men aged 35-44, women are less likely to visit clinics and get diagnosed. And malaria affects the immuno surpressed – young children, people with HIV and pregnant women. So we need to keep understanding who is left behind in work to treat and manage, and most importantly prevent, these diseases and ensure that gender, age and poverty guide who we target and work with,” said Dr Abbot.
The UN plays a key role in supporting countries facing challenging circumstances to access Global Fund resources and has worked closely with the Government of Zimbabwe over the last 15 years to support the delivery of life-saving HIV services, while simultaneously strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Child Care.