by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE has averted some 393 000 deaths while life expectancy has increased to 61 years over the past decade following the provision of antiretroviral (ARVs) treatment to 1 million people living with HIV.
More than 49 000 deaths were averted last year.
In 2005, only 12 000 people had access to life-saving treatment.
Life expectancy reached 41 years in 2003 increased to 61 years in 2015.
“As a country we have come a long way in addressing the challenge of HIV,” said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Gerald Gwinji.
He said the 1 million antiretroviral treatment milestone had been remarkable thanks to effective government leadership and collaboration with development partners.
“We have in a decade turned the tide against this killer disease by boosting resilience of our health care system and ensuring effective services are available to those most in need, including people living with HIV,” Gwinji added.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has meanwhile approved funding of US$502 million (R6,8 billion) to Zimbabwe for the next three years.
Most of the funding will focus on ensuring universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support services, with an emphasis on eliminating mother-to-child transmission.
Bishow Parajuli, United Nations Coordinator, said the country of 16 million people had made strides in increasing access to treatment.
“One million people living with HIV are now able to live longer, healthier and enjoy more productive lives,” Parajuli said.
– CAJ News