press releaseBy Karanja Kinyanjui
The Global Fund has disbursed $84 million originally scheduled for 2014 to help Zimbabwe to achieve universal coverage of antiretrovirals (ARVs) by the end of 2012.
The $84 million is part of an HIV grant worth $204 million that began in 2010, and was renewed in June 2012. The grant focuses on prevention and treatment for young people, people living with HIV, women and children. The $84 million, however, will be used specifically for treatment.
The Global Fund said in a statement that Zimbabwe is expected to reach 85% of adults in need of treatment by the end of the year. Many countries have defined "universal coverage" as at least 80% of people in need of treatment, according to Avert, an international HIV/AIDS charity.
The statement, released on 2 October 2012, said that the money will cover the cost of ARVs for an additional 10,000 new patients, and will bring the total number of people on treatment in Global Fund-supported programmes in Zimbabwe to 203,440 by the end of 2012.
The Global Fund added that part of the money will also pay for the creation of a buffer stock of six months of ARVs for the approximately 480,000 people on treatment in Zimbabwe. The buffer stock will provide security of supplies of ARVs to patients.
The Global Fund said it has agreed to raise treatment coverage together with the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR is funding an increase in the number of people on treatment it supports in Zimbabwe from 80,000 to 140,000 this year and to 160,000 in 2013. The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) is also funding treatment for 35,900 patients.
The statement said that the Global Fund is coordinating its efforts with the Government of Zimbabwe, which is supporting 124,000 patients on ARV through its innovative AIDS levy initiative through which it collected $26 million in 2011. The AIDS levy is charged on individuals, companies and trusts at a rate of 3% of the amount of income tax assessed. Of the total funds collected, 50% goes towards the ARV programme.
"The Global Fund will continue to work very closely with the government of Zimbabwe and with other partners, including PEPFAR, to ensure that the anticipated gains are sustained," the Global Fund statement said.