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UN heaps praise on Zim’s HIV, Aids strategy

In yet another global endorsement of policies being implemented under the Second Republic, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has declared Zimbabwe one of its best performing member countries in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

UNAIDS, the supreme world body tasked by UN member states with leading the fight against HIV and Aids, noted that the country was on course to achieving its target of eradicating the pandemic.

This effusive assessment was delivered by UNAIDS executive director Ms Winnie Byanyima on the sidelines of the political launch of the Global Alliance to end AIDS in children by 2030, hosted by UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and their partners in Tanzania last week.

With the global pulse of the international HIV/AIDS response under her ambit, the praise by Ms Byanyima — who is also an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations — speaks volumes about Zimbabwe’s progress in the HIV/AIDS fight as set out by President Mnangagwa under the universal health coverage strategy.

UNAIDS co-ordinates and aggregates the world’s quest to end HIV and AIDS and works together with other UN agencies that include UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UN Women, UNESCO and WHO.

Zimbabwe sent a high-powered delegation to the launch led by Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who detailed Zimbabwe’s extensive response to eradicating HIV and AIDS in children by 2030.

After VP Chiwenga’s presentation at the launch, Ms Byanyima told The Herald in an interview that the journey to end HIV and AIDS in children was attainable and Zimbabwe was showing leadership for other UNAIDS member states to emulate.

“Zimbabwe has come to this meeting represented at a high level led by the Vice President and a strong technical team to back him,” said Ms Byanyima.

“We are confident that Zimbabwe will fulfil its commitments. Zimbabwe is already one of the best performing countries in fighting HIV and AIDS.

“Zimbabwe can do it. Right now other countries that have joined this alliance are not on track, you see the gap widening between adults and children, but Zimbabwe can close it. Just as it has made so much progress in reducing infections amongst adults, it can do it for children too.

“The commitments made here are very ambitious but also realistic and we know what needs to be done and each of these countries has the means and ability.”

In his presentation, VP Chiwenga highlighted that Zimbabwe was committed to addressing the structural determinants of health that prevent women, especially adolescents and young women, from accessing care and stop the transmission of HIV.

He also bemoaned the fact that the world had lost considerable ground on the progress made in the fight against HIV and AIDS when it was caught off-guard by the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.

VP Chiwenga challenged fellow global health leaders to dust up and forge ahead with the fight towards an HIV/AIDS free generation.

The praise by UNAIDS is not isolated as several other international organisations have noted the progress Zimbabwe is making towards the betterment of its people’s lives under the Second Republic.

Last year, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) praised the Government of Zimbabwe for its commitment and progress made in fulfilling population management and sexual and reproductive health services.

WHO also lauded Zimbabwe for building resilient health systems towards Universal Health Coverage as well as the manner in which the country responded to the global Covid-19 pandemic, with Government getting plaudits for averting a disaster that could have ravaged the populace.

Another UN agency, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has noted Zimbabwe’s progress towards food self-sustenance under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) in which Government seeks to guarantee food security for all.

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