Zim gives an update on the HIV plan

the herald

Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter

Zimbabwe is taking stock of its five-year plan on the ultimate elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis by consolidating the achievements of this process and addressing the shortcomings of the next plan, said the vice president and minister of health and childcare, Dr Constantino Chiwenga said yesterday

He was speaking at the third quarter 2022 meeting of the national validation committee on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis before the current plan expires at the end of this year.

Zimbabwe has recorded huge successes in its fight against HIV and was recently praised by the United Nations for its compelling roadmap as it moves towards eliminating HIV transmission by 2030.

The UN has praised Zimbabwe for achieving the 90-90-90 targets and now the country is seized with achieving the 95-95-95 targets by 2025.

This means that 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of people living with HIV who know their status are on antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of people on treatment have achieved viral suppression.

“As a country, we have developed a plan to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis covering the period 2018-2022,” Vice President Chiwenga said.

“As Zimbabwe is now in the final year of implementing this plan, my ministry has begun the process of taking stock of the successes, challenges, innovations and best practices we have achieved during this period with a view the development of the monitoring plan covering the years 2023-2026.

Vice President Chiwenga chairs the National Validation Committee and said he looks forward to the participation of program managers from relevant government departments, civil society organizations, community representatives of people living with HIV, academics, legal practitioners as well as implementing partners in this important activity.

The World Health Organization has released global guidance and processes for the triple elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, congenital syphilis and hepatitis B.

“This is a very welcome development as these three infections can be prevented by testing mothers and treating them if they test positive for any of these three conditions,” Vice President Chiwenga said.

“I wish to inform you that the next follow-up plan will focus on the triple elimination of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis.”

Vice President Chiwenga said the UNAIDS Strategy 2021-2026 “Ending Inequalities, Ending AIDS” highlights the inequalities that affect the health of women and children.

Ending vertical transmission and improving the health of women living with HIV, while ensuring antiretroviral treatment for all children and adolescents living with HIV, are priorities of the strategy.

“Recognizing that women’s and children’s issues need to be honoured, a Global Alliance to End Childhood AIDS by 2030 was launched on August 1, 2022 on the sidelines of the International AIDS Conference in Montreal,” Vice President Chiwenga said.

“Zimbabwe has been officially invited to participate in the first phase of implementation of the Global Alliance and I have officially communicated my acceptance to join the Global Alliance. I now intend to move forward and domesticate the Global Alliance to End Childhood AIDS by 2030.”

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