Saving Lives, Improving Healthcare through Partnerships

Mar 12, 2015

Guests from the UN in Zimbabwe; Zimbabwe Government; Global Fund; DFID; European Commission; Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunisation; and other development practitioners at an event celebrating healthcare partnerships in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) Dr David Parirenyatwa has expressed gratitude to the donor community for supporting the country in its efforts to combat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Hosting top representatives of the Global Fund,  UK Department for International Development DFID), the European Commission (EC) and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the Minister hailed the successful partnership that has turned the tide in the fight against the three killer diseases.

The Minister made these remarks in Harare on 10 March 2015 at a cocktail ceremony to welcome the high level delegation. The event was one of a series of activities lined up for the delegation which started on 9th March and ends on 13th March. The objective of the joint mission is to focus on the existing programmes in Zimbabwe and identify further opportunities for collaboration. It will also include engaging in-country stakeholders to discuss coordination and achievements in the Health Sector.

The event was held as Zimbabwe moves towards national ownership of the programme to combat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“We see the true meaning of partnership in Zimbabwe” stated Mr Linden Morrison, who heads the High Impact-Africa II department at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “Innovations such as the AIDS Levy are unique to the country and therefore Zimbabwe could be an example to the region and the world,” he explained.

Since 2009 when UNDP was tasked to manage the Global Fund grants as the Principal Recipient (PR), the Fund has approved about US$1.04 billion to Zimbabwe’s response to the three diseases and Health Systems Strengthening (HSS).  Currently $716,897,382 of these funds have already been disbursed to the country. As PR, UNDP is responsible for programme management, procurement of health and non-health products, financial management and monitoring and evaluation using national systems.  To achieve this role, UNDP works in partnership with MoHCC, NatPharm, UN System and other technical partners and national entities.

This support has made a huge impact in the country’s health sector. For instance, the HIV prevalence has declined from 18% in 2005/6 to about 15% in 2010/11 of the adult population aged 15-49, according to the Zimbabwe Health Demographic Health Surveys (ZDHS). In 2014, over 780,000 people living with HIV were accessing anti-retroviral therapy. In addition, the Malaria incidence has dropped by about 14% from 58/1000 (2009) to 41/1000 (2013).  About 81% of TB patients successfully completed treatment in 2014, compared to 74% in 2010.

“We are hugely inspired by how much progress Zimbabwe has made in the three diseases” related MS Sarah Boulton, the Global Health Funds Team Leader at the Department for International Development (DFID). of the United Kingdom. “The impressive results are testimony to how well the Ministry of Health and Child Care works with all the partners.”

Describing the European Commission as long-term partner to Zimbabwe, Ms Veronique Lorenzo, the Head of Education, Health, Research and Culture Unit said the ministry’s strategic approach made it possible for the different programmes to work coherently. “This managed to convince donors to respond to the country’s national priorities,” she said stressing the need for increased efficiency as the country transitions to national ownership and leadership in managing the programme.

Expressing the UN’s continuing commitment to work with partners to save more lives in Zimbabwe and improve the country’s health care system UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Bishow Parajuli observed that because of the economic challenges that Zimbabwe is currently facing, there are many gaps to reaching everyone in need of anti-retroviral treatment, and other forms of interventions.

“The UN is counting on your continued support to improve healthcare for all the people of Zimbabwe,” said the UN Resident Coordinator.

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