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U.S. AIDS Coordinator Meets With Zimbabwe Health Minister

U.S. Global Fund AIDS Deputy Coordinator and Chief Medical Officer Mark Dybul met in Harare recently with Zimbabwean Health Minister David Parirenyatwa to review the country's programs and progress in fighting the HIV-AIDS pandemic there.

Though Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, studies have shown a decline in the proportion of adults infected with the AIDS virus from over 30% in 1999 to around 20% in the most recent studies. Zimbabwe is the first Southern African country to register such a significant reduction in the HIV prevalence rate.

Zimbabwe is not one of the 15 "focus countries" that are the main beneficiaries of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, but it is among the 123 countries which receive PEPFAR funds through bilateral channels.

Zimbabwe received $16.6 million from PEPFAR in 2003, and in 2004 was given $16.8 million. A 2005 grant of 20.5 million brought the total so far to $53.9 million.

Reporter Carole Gombakomba spoke with Health Minister David Parirenyatwa who said that while the funding will not be administered directly by the Harare government, his ministry will have considerable input on how the U.S. monies should be applied.

International programs director Frank Guni of the U.S.-based National Association of People with AIDS told her that the U.S. pledge to Zimbabwe will do much good.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...