By Nevson Mpofu
PEPFAR, USA AIDS Organization on 16 November celebrated its 15th Anniversary in Harare. This marked its overall success in HIV and AIDS reduction. PEPFAR came up with many vitiated interventions, HIV and AIDS programs, and supported projects. International symposiums which reduced the spread of the virus are annually held in various countries world-wide.
In its country operational plan, the organisation came up with comprehensive HIV and AIDS programs country-wide. Apart from, it strengthened laboratories in hospitals so as to scale up infection control.
The Co-Ordinator of the Program in Zimbabwe, Mark Troger said, PEPFAR since 2006 has donated about US 150 million for HIV and AIDS programs country-wide. This, he added were put in place to bring an end to the scourge.
‘’Since 2006, USA through PEPFAR has supported Zimbabwe to end the epidemic. We however are glad to an extent to celebrate achievements in ending the scourge which killed millions of people world-wide.
‘’Millions of people were affected. In other words, no family has not yet been affected. This reduces family in-come, lastly leading to extreme poverty and hunger. Even up now, millions are living HIV positive with, some without access to ARVs, life sustaining drugs.
‘’We shall continue to work with Zimbabwe and our partners to bring an end to opportunistic infections. One of these is Tuberculosis which is closely related to HIV and AIDS. In other words, we want to move from the targets we set before the 90%, 90 %,90% targets.
‘’Let us move towards 95%, 95%, 95% targets in eliminating HIV completely. Let us strive to have a shared vision to bury HIV and AIDS. As a country, Zimbabwe has done well on Millennium Development Goals like on Goal 6 .
Also it has succeeded in Paediatric HIV care, Prevention of mother to child transmission, Sexual Reproductive Health Rights in young people .The chain achievement is in HIV testing, counselling prevention, treatment, care and support. However, PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION is always first’’, he said.
The target is meant to bring an end to HIV and AIDS in the world. This means then that 90% of people get tested and know their status. Secondly, 90% get on treatment and 90% have the virus suppressed in their bodies.
Giving the key note Address, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obediah Moyo said the work done by partners in the fight against HIV and AIDS is relentless work put effort on. Many successes remain vital. However, he added that the need for stronger research and development in Medicines is one area still to focus on.
‘’As we move on, we look at the 100%, 100% , 100% elimination of the virus . We are moving into the future of vision with the mission to reach the destination of an HIV FREE GENERATION. This generation is possible through our consented effort scaling up activities related to the epidemic. Also let us not drop down the effort to work together as on nation,’’ he noted.
The 15th Anniversary launched a media award in HIV and AIDS. The award’s stories will run from this year October 2018 to October 2019.