Statements and Webcast
H. E. Dr. Henry Madzorera, Minister for Health and Child Welfare
8 June 2011
- Statement: English (Check against delivery)
HENRY MADZORERA, Minister of Health and Child Welfare of Zimbabwe, said thanks to Zimbabwe’s commitment to universal access to treatment, the HIV prevalence rate in the country fell from more than 29 per cent in 1999 to 13.7 per cent at present. The decline was a result of expanded HIV prevention services, testing, counselling, and awareness campaigns. The Government had begun to incorporate male circumcision in its HIV prevention programmes, based on evidence that it could help prevent transmission. In 2006, Zimbabwe was among the first countries worldwide to develop and implement an evidence-based behavioural change strategy, which had since bolstered demand for and use of HIV prevention services. Despite funding challenges, Zimbabwe had achieved significant progress in treatment and care. By the end of 2010, it had achieved 77 per cent coverage towards its universal access target. Moreover, 350,000 of the estimated 593,000 people in the country in need of anti-retroviral therapy had access to it now.
Zimbabwe had adopted WHO’s newly revised HIV treatment guidelines, raising the threshold for initiating treatment for a CD4 cell count from 200 to 350, he said. That move had bolstered the demand for treatment services from 340,000 people seeking treatment to 593,000. The number of children receiving treatment — 10 per cent of the population — had doubled in the last two years and efforts were under way to further expand services to children in need. Coverage of programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission had been expanded. The Government had set up a National AIDS Council and a National AIDS Trust Fund to promote universal access to care. Since the adoption of a multicurrency regime, the Government’s AIDS Levy had played a significant role in financing the national response to HIV/AIDS. The 2011-2015 national HIV and AIDS strategic plan aimed to scale up availability of, and access, to prevention, care and treatment.