Towards the Development of HIV Investment Case for Zimbabwe

On the 6th of February, the National AIDS Council and the United Nations Joint Team on HIV convened an inclusive stakeholder consultation to develop a blueprint on how to expand the investment approach to HIV response and launch the accelerated development of an HIV investment case for Zimbabwe.

In his opening address, Ronald Yekeye, Operations Director of the National AIDS Council said, “The new HIV investment framework is a shift in understanding how we respond effectively towards HIV as an investment that is meant to contribute towards development of individuals, communities and the nation at large as opposed to the previous notion of response that was influenced in part by disbursement thinking”.

Stakeholders were encouraged to think of how to move forward and to coordinate resources to achieve the Three Zeros: Zero New HIV infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths. The African Union, the Global Fund and the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board have also adopted the investment thinking concept, in line with the business thinking background.

Tatiana Shoumilina, the UNAIDS Country Coordinator and Chair of the UN Joint Team on HIV urged the stakeholders to put a human face on the HIV pandemic and to go beyond the technical aspects of the HIV response. She emphasized that viewing HIV funding as an investment would result in a high impact in preventing new infections by coordinating the targeted use of funds in the HIV response and guaranteeing positive returns.

Some of the major points discussed during the meeting addressed how well the response matched the epidemic in Zimbabwe. Participants agreed that core interventions such as a coordinating body with specific objectives like the three zeros, and guiding policy frameworks, were in place. However, there was a need to review the reduction of maternal mortality, availability of human resources, access to correct information by key populations which include people living with disabilities, sex workers and men who have sex with men.

Participants also agreed that community systems strengthening was an important component in the response to the epidemic. Scaling up of existing interventions such as male circumcision, ARV therapy programme, and new interventions like an electronic patient monitoring systems and legislative reforms can also play a role in reducing infections and deaths.

The consultative meeting brought together 28 representatives from Government Ministries, United Nations, Development Partners, Civil Society Organizations and the Media.