The Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) join the rest of the world in commemorating the 2021 International World AIDS Day that ran under the theme: “End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics”. As an organisation, our role is to coordinate the PLHIV sector and safeguard the rights of people living with HIV in their diversity. We are we are in solidarity with the rest of the world in fighting the global health threat posed by HIV and COVID-19.
As the world commemorates the World AIDS Day, it is critical to take stock of the progress that we have made as a country towards addressing the challenges faced by people living with HIV. We have a lot to be proud of as a country, particularly the strides we have made in ensuring that People Living with HIV are on treatment. The government, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the National AIDS Council and multi-lateral donors have ensured that over 1.1 million people living with HIV are on treatment.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care was allocated ZWL$117.7 billion which represents 14,9 of the 2022 national budget. ZNNP+ therefore applauds the government as we noted that the country is making great strides towards achieving the 15% Abuja Declaration. It is our hope that people living with HIV will also benefit from the budget. The task ahead of us is to monitor and track the disbursement of these funds to make sure that they are utilised well and timely.
However, in as much as COVID-19 is disrupting processes in the health sector, it is critical that the country continues to put in place measures that will ensure that the health rights of people living with HIV are not infringed. We can only achieve our desired 95, 95, 95 Global HIV targets if we address the economic, structural, and social barriers that militate against people living with HIV accessing HIV testing, treatment, and diagnostic services. As the coordinator of the PLHIV sector, we therefore call for continued support from all stakeholders that include the government, the donor community, civil society organizations, community-based organizations, religious and traditional leaders, and communities to make concerted efforts towards addressing the current barriers to accessing health services by people living with HIV.
Every year, the World Aids Day remind us of the importance of working together in coming up with sustainable solutions towards ending the HIV pandemic. We live in an interdependent world, therefore, how we respond to HIV, depends in part on whether we understand this interdependence. “Let us End Inequalities, Let us End AIDS, Let us End Pandemics”