THE United States on Friday provided Zimbabwe with $95 million as Washington increased its support to Harare in the fight against HIV and Aids and related illnesses.
The US government released the funds through the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR).
Zimbabwe co-ordinator Megan Petersen told delegates who attended PEPFAR’s country operational plan (COP) stakeholders meeting that this support would be channelled towards the provision of drugs and mentoring people and organisations working the HIV and Aids field.
US ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton, who attended the meeting, said Washington was committed to working with Harare to combat the spread of HIV and Aids. His country is providing a million condoms to Zimbabwe every year as the world intensifies the fight against the disease.
The US’s top diplomat here said Washington provided anti-retroviral therapy for 140 000 people last year in Zimbabwe alone, adding that this number was set to increase this year.
“This year, my PEPFAR team is committed to supporting an additional 20 000 patients, bringing the total to 160 000 people receiving ARVs through US support,” said Wharton. “We need to work together with the government of Zimbabwe and its co-operating partners to ensure that the procurement of ARVs is as cost-effective as possible so that every deserving case receives treatment.
To date, the US has committed $8,5 billion to the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
“Last year, the Global Fund awarded an addition $311 million to Zimbabwe for the next three years. Because of this additional funding, many more people are on anti-retroviral treatment and are receiving other HIV related services.
“Since the establishment of PEPFAR in 2003, America has committed half a billion dollars to Zimbabwe to fight HIV and Aids,” added Wharton.
Delegates from the Health ministry and implementing partners working in HIV and Aids field attended the meeting.
Some of the delegates expressed concern that the February 7 deadline that they were given to submit proposals to PEPFAR’s COP programme was too short, but Petersen said the deadline stands, adding Washington is lagging behind in implementing its Aids relief plan for this year.