R1,3bn aid for Zim to fight HIV

HARARE - Zimbabwe's ailing public health system will receive a $180million (R1,33billion) boost to fight HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria from the Global Fund, state media reported yesterday.

HARARE - Zimbabwe's ailing public health system will receive a $180million (R1,33billion) boost to fight HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and malaria from the Global Fund, state media reported yesterday.

The Zimbabwean government and the Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria signed for the release of the money in Geneva, Switzerland, earlier this month.

"The first phase of the grant is expected to start in January next year and run until December," Rangarirai Chiteure, Zimbabwe's Global Fund country coordinating mechanism manager told the state-run The Herald.

Zimbabwe has been receiving money from the Global Fund since 2002 and this latest grant is the fourth. In September, Zimbabwe reported new progress in its fight against Aids, saying its HIV infection rate had declined to 13,7percent of youths and adults, from an estimated 14,1percent last year.

However, Henry Madzorera, the minister of health, called for concerted efforts to reduce the rate to single digits. Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in the world to have recorded a sharp decline in HIV, down from a high of 33 percent in 1999. The drop is attributed to government and donor-backed prevention campaigns, but also to the nation's economic collapse, which has made it more difficult for people to maintain multiple sexual partners.

Only 20percent of Zimbabweans who need anti-retroviral drugs receive them. - Sapa-AFP

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