Acting Permanent Secretary of Health and child Care, Dr Douglas Mangwana said the country has made great significant progress in responding to the pandemic of HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe.
Addressing stakeholders at the launch of the National HIV Treatment Literacy Manual, yesterday in Harare, Mangwanya said the manual will strengthen the linkages between communities, Health professionals and health centres in supporting government efforts to serve People Living with HIV.
He added the manual observes the right to health for people living HIV empowering them to be able to demand treatment.
“As of March 2016, a total of 891 000 people were on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) and this includes 61, 285 children and 63, 597 adolescents aged 10- 19 years.
“HIV has changed from being a death sentence, when there were no ARVs, to one of the chronic diseases.
“Although on decline, the HIV prevalence rate remains high at 15%, whilst incidence is at 0,98%”, Mangwana explained.
The acting Permanent Secretary added that in 2015, 4,306 children were newly infected with HIV, 31, while 188 people died due to the pandemic.
The manual focuses on key aspects of HIV testing, counseling prevention and treatment literacy for those infected and affected by the pandemic.
He highlighted that, the Treatment Literacy manual covers entry point level of information on preventing and treating TB.
“ It is intended to be used by community based organizations, expect patients, trainers and support groups of people living with HIV at community level.
“ To equip communities with up to date information to better manage and lobby for quality HIV prevetion and treatment, TB prevention and support”, said Mangwanya.
Speaking on the same occasion Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNPt) Dagobert Mureriwa said the manual document has adequate government support, People living with HIV are initiated and retained in care and will ensure that we meet the global targets in a sustainable manner.
Mureriwa said the production of the document has presented with golden opportunity to reach to our constituency with this gospel of treatment.
He added the challenge is the need of resources to translate this document into at least 3 vernacular languages, capacitating community structures to roll out the manual.
“ It is my hope and trust that our all partners Trocare, Oxfam, the Global Fund, NAC, Pangea will keep on supporting this noble struggle whilst we take on board new ones”, said Mureriwa.