Head of Midlands Office
Acting President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday commissioned the state-of-the-art Gweru Provincial Hospital (GPH) Center of Excellence (COE) on Opportunistic Infections (OI) and Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) which will support more than 3,500 people in need of specialist HIV care and support.
As the country accelerates progress towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, the WCC will see the GPH have a separate, private IO/ART center for effective treatment and care against HIV.
Services offered at the WCC will include HIV prevention (free testing and counselling), comprehensive HIV care for adults and children living with HIV, on-site laboratory and pharmaceutical services.
Previously, services were offered in a cramped office that left no privacy for people.
OIs are more common and more serious illnesses in people living with HIV. Today, OIs are less common in people living with HIV thanks to effective HIV treatment.
The COE is a one-stop-shop with consulting rooms and an integrated pharmacy where patients will get all services under one roof.
The construction of the COE was funded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MoCC).
AHF Zimbabwe supports the MoCC in establishing COEs across the country.
The GPH COE will also provide quality and affordable healthcare services to people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV) with complex medical conditions who are referred from across the Midlands Province.
Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Decentralization Larry Mavima has commissioned the COE OI/ART at the health facility on behalf of Acting President Chiwenga, who is also Minister for Health and Care of children.
In a speech read on his behalf by Minister Mavima, Acting President Chiwenga said the ably led Second Republic of President Mnangagwa is spearheading development in all sectors in line with Vision 2030.
He said the said vision is currently operationalized through the National Development Strategy (NDS 1) which runs from 2021 to 2025 and access to quality health services is one of the paramount deliverables.
“We are gathered here to witness the results of our national vision where the tangible outcome of a modern one-stop-shop for health services has been successfully built and subsequently fully equipped. The health facility was developed following the establishment of a mutual partnership between the Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and development partner AHF,” Interim President Chiwenga said.
He said the agreement for the establishment of the WCC came about from the realization that the existing infrastructure is now inadequate given the increased demand for OI/ART and other health services.
“It was indeed compromising the quality of services, especially in terms of patient confidentiality and now that this facility has been developed, I urge everyone, especially men, to improve their care-seeking behavior.
“HIV and AIDS are a major public health issue in Zimbabwe, but as a country we have made significant progress in HIV care and treatment programs over the past decade,” the president said. acting
He said the increase in the number of clients on ART over the past decade has been achieved through the use of standard and simplified treatment guidelines and a standard training curriculum, community mobilization, political commitment and effective partnerships such as that observed at the GPH.
The development, Interim President Chiwenga said, is a clear indication of the fruits of President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement strategy. “In fact, it also demonstrates unity of purpose and cooperation as we get NDS 1 operational. As MoHCC, we are very grateful to AHF for building the state-of-the-art COE to GPH, worth around 200,000 USD This is very much in line with the government’s quest for the promotion of investors through PPPs (public-private partnerships).I want to take this opportunity to challenge all other private entities to emulate the gesture shown by AHL,” he said.
Acting President Chiwenga said the government is aware of the need to improve the conditions of service of health workers and all civil servants.
“As we celebrate this achievement of expanding and improving the quality of health services, let us also recognize the commitment and efforts of the Second Republic to improving the well-being of workers. health and all other public servants. Despite the current international economic challenges, our government continues to review the wages and other benefits of its workforce,” he said.
“I also want to express the government’s gratitude to the committed healthcare workers and all other public servants who have continued to work for their own countries.”
The interim president lamented drug abuse by young people.
“As we celebrate the opening of COE OI/ART, I remain concerned about the skyrocketing substance abuse among our young people.
“This hospital treats an average of 12 cases per month. I therefore call on all stakeholders to come together and do something about this scourge. Allow me to challenge the Medical Superintendent (Dr Fabian Mashingaidze) and his team to make good use of this facility,” he said.
AHF’s director of quality management and clinical operations, Dr Nduduzo Dube, speaking to the same delegates, said the foundation had aligned its programs to feed into Zimbabwe’s national health strategy which aims to improve the health and well-being of the population.
He said AHF feeds into Zimbabwe’s National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2021-2025, which aims to accelerate progress towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. .
“AHF Zimbabwe is spearheading the process of transforming the IO/ART clinics of the main central hospitals and provincial hospitals into centers of excellence in terms of HIV treatment and care. We have also carried out structural renovations at various sites; we are currently supporting OI clinics in the central hospitals of Parirenyatwa, Mpilo and Sally Mugabe.We are also supporting Victoria Chitepo, Gwanda and here at Gweru Provincial Hospital,” said Dr Dube.
Dr Mashingaidze said they have a total of 3,600 people registered to receive HIV treatment and care at GPH.
“We have 3,600 people registered for HIV treatment and care. The number keeps increasing every day and the new facility is a welcome development as it will especially give privacy to people seeking HIV treatment and care,” he said.
AHF Board Member Ms. Diana Hoorzuk said the foundation provides medical care and treatment services to 45 countries around the world, 13 of which are in Africa, including Zimbabwe.
“To date, AHF supports the care and treatment of more than 1.6 million patients in partnership with national governments. In Zimbabwe, the foundation started operating in 2016,” she said.