13 July 2018

Southern Africa: Zimbabwe On the Verge of Eliminating Aids

Bulawayo — Zimbabwe is on course to attain global targets set by the United Nations (UN) to eradicate the HIV/AIDS scourge.

This is among some highlights of progress the Southern African country has achieved towards the realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the UN, Zimbabwe is on course to achieve the global 90:90:90 targets by 2020, an ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic, whose prevalence rate is 1,3 million out of an estimated population of 16 million.

The 90:90:90 refers to targets of 90 percent of people living with HIV knowing their status, a similar percentage of those knowing their status receiving treatment and an equal percentage of those on treatment having their viral load suppressed by 2020.

Zimbabwe's figures currently stand at 74 percent, 87 percent and 87 percent respectively.

HIV prevalence in Zimbabwe has decreased by 24 percent over the last decade. Since 2010, new HIV infections have decreased by 49 percent and AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 45 percent.

Breakthroughs by Zimbabwe emerged from a three-day tour of UN-supported development programmes in the Matebeleland North Province.

Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator, led the tour to Binga, Bulawayo, Jotsholo, Lupane and Ntabazinduna areas.

Dr Mohamed Ag Ayoya (UN Children's Fund- UNICEF Representative), Lily Sanya (International Organisation of Migration-IOM Chief of Mission), Eddie Rowe (World Food Programme- WFP Representative and Country Director) and Georges van Montfort (UN Development Programme- UNDP Country Director) were part of the delegation.

The UN-supported projects are addressing SDGs related to ending poverty (SDG 1), ending hunger (SDG2), achieving universal and quality health (SDG3),quality education (SDG4), improving access to water and sanitation (SDG6), and promoting peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG16).

At the end of the three-day field visit, in Binga, Parajuli, hailed the cooperation with the local administration, government ministries, non-governmental organisations and the communities, particularly in integrating the SDGs into local development projects.

"We equally learned on the need to intensify joint efforts including the engagement of private sector to address remaining challenges of providing pupils with adequate school facilities and to scale-up ongoing development programmes to support rural communities achieve their development plans in the shortest time possible," Parajuli said.

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