28 March 2016

Zimbabwe: Door-to-Door HIV Testing On Target

Photo: © 2014 Justin Purefoy/HRW
A health worker conducting a voluntary HIV test (file photo).

THE Biomedical Research and Training Institute says it has tested nearly half of the 30 000 people it targeted for its ground-breaking door-to-door HIV testing. The HIV survey started in October last year. Addressing stakeholders attending the Matabeleland South provincial launch of the Zimbabwe Population based HIV Impact Assessment (Zimphia) in Gwanda last week, Dr Shungu Munyati said 14 050 people have so far been tested from selected households in five districts of the country. Dr Munyati said the majority of the selected households were consenting to HIV testing with a few objections.

"Response continues to be overwhelming with majority of selected households consenting to getting tested," said Dr Munyati.

She urged the affluent to embrace Zimphia for the country to come up with a true picture of the burden of HIV in Zimbabwe. Dr Munyati said they have so far covered 63 percent of targeted enumeration areas and 42 percent of targeted households.

Zimphia targets to test at least 30 000 people of HIV from 500 selected enumeration areas dotted across the country's 10 provinces. Six provinces have so far been enumerated including Matabeleland South Province.

Midlands, Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Harare are the remaining provinces. Dr Munyati said Zimphia results so far showed that household HIV testing and counselling was a worthwhile strategy.

"We hope to complete the entire Zimphia survey by the 30th of June 2016," she said.

Addressing the same gathering, Matabeleland North provincial administrator Mr Midard Khumalo, who was the guest of honour at the launch, urged all stakeholders in Matabeleland North Province to take part and support the survey to enable policy makers to craft effective policies and programming.

According to the latest site based national HIV estimates, the prevalence rate for Matabeleland North Province stands at 21 percent.

Centre for Disease Control (CDC) deputy director Mrs Laurie Fuller commended Zimbabwe for embarking on the survey.

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