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Washington Gives Harare $95 Million to Fight HIV/Aids

U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton.
The United States on Friday provided Zimbabwe with $95 million as Washington increased its support to Harare in the fight against HIV/Aids and related illnesses.

The U.S. government released the funds through the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR).

Zimbabwe coordinator Megan Petersen told delegates who attended PEPFAR’s Country Operational Plan (COP) stakeholders meeting that this support would be channeled towards the provision of drugs and mentoring people and organizations working the HIV/Aids field.

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton, who attended the meeting, said Washington was committed to working with Harare to combat the spread of HIV/Aids. His country is providing a million condoms to Zimbabwe every year as the world intensifies the fight against the disease.

The US’s top diplomat here said Washington provided anti-retroviral therapy for 140 000 people last year in Zimbabwe alone adding that this number is set to increase this year.

“This year, my PEPFAR team is committed to supporting an additional 20,000 patients, bringing the total to 160,000 people receiving ARVs through U.S support,” said Wharton. “We need to work together with the government of Zimbabwe and its cooperating partners to ensure that the procurement of ARVs is as cost-effective as possible so that every deserving case receives treatment.

To date, the United States has committed $8.5 billion to the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“Last year, the Global Fund awarded an addition $311 million to Zimbabwe for the next three years. Because of this additional funding, many more people are on anti-retroviral treatment and are receiving other HIV related services,”

“Since the establishment of PEPFAR in 2003, America has committed half a billion dollars to Zimbabwe to fight HIV/Aids,” added Wharton.

Delegates from the health ministry and implementing partners working in HIV/Aids field attended the meeting.

Some of the delegates expressed concern that the 7 February deadline that they were given to submit proposals to PEPFAR’s COP program was too short but Petersen said the deadline stands, adding Washington is lagging behind in implementing its Aids relief plan for this year.