New fund a shot in the arm to ending AIDS in Zim

Harare, 12 September 2016 -  The Embassy of Canada in Zimbabwe and the Joint United Nations Programme on, development partners, civil society and partners to dialogue on ending AIDS in the country.

The meeting is a precursor to the 5th replenishment meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that will be held at the end of this week in Montreal, Canada.

“The Global Fund has made a significant investment to end AIDS, malaria and TB in Zimbabwe,” said the Ambassador of Canada to Zimbabwe, Mr Kumar Gupta. “That investment needs to continue to grow and I am pleased that my government will host the 5th replenishment of the Global Fund at the end of this week in Montreal. Canada has increased its allocation to the Fund by 20% and I hope other countries will follow suit, so that ending AIDS can become a reality for Zimbabwe and other deeply affected countries”, Ambassador Gupta said.

The Global Fund’s current grants to Zimbabwe total $709 million, of which $611 million goes to HIV, $59 million to malaria and $39 million to TB, over the period 2014 to 2017.

United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Zimbabwe, Mr Bishow Parajuli committed the UN system to continue to support Zimbabwe’s efforts against AIDS. “Zimbabwe has halved the size of the epidemic in the past 15 years”, Mr Parajuli said. “But that job needs to continue until the end is in sight.”

UNDP administers the Global Fund HIV grant in Zimbabwe which is implemented by a range of government and civil society partners. Mr Parajuli drew attention to $20 million dollars which has been saved in the most recent round of procurement of medicines through lower drug prices and transport costs. “Every cent of this money will be ploughed back into the Grant so more Zimbabweans can access life-saving treatment,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister for Health and Child Care, Hon. Aldrin Musiiwa acknowledged the support provided by the Global Fund in combatting AIDS, TB and malaria. “The global solidarity expressed by the Global Fund complements national efforts such as the National AIDS Trust Fund which includes the AIDS levy, an initiative that has been taken as a global best practice and leads to hope that we can end AIDS, malaria and TB in this generation”, Musiiwa said.

The event honoured Ms Martha Tholanah who in July was awarded the Elizabeth Taylor Human Rights Award. “Ending AIDS means leaving no one behind,” Ms Tholanah said. “We must measure the success of our AIDS response by how well the most vulnerable are empowered to take control over their own health and sexual rights”.

Mr Michael Bartos, UNAIDS Country Director in Zimbabwe, praised the strength of Zimbabwe’s partnership between government, civil society and international partners in the AIDS, malaria and TB response. “The Global Fund invests in Zimbabwe because it knows that this is a country in which it gets results. We look forward to a successful replenishment so that the Fund can continue to support Zimbabwe going down the fast track to ending AIDS”, he said.  

 The UN in Zimbabwe, through the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), supports efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by fostering innovation, securing sustainable financing, strengthening health systems and resilience of communities, promoting human rights and gender equality, and ensuring access to HIV prevention and treatment services.

 In this regard and in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, the UN in Zimbabwe will strive to support national efforts to ensure at least 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of HIV positive people receive sustained treatment, 90% of those on treatment have durable viral load suppression.