Health experts say tens of thousands of Zimbabwean children are HIV positive and the country also suffers one of the world's highest rates of mother-to-child HIV transmission.
Efforts by the Ministry of Health and a consortium of health non-governmental organizations to prevent mother-to-child transmission and treat children with HIV got a boost Wednesday, as the United States government extended a $60 million grant to the government of Zimbabwe.
Officially launching the Families and Communities for the Elimination of Pediatric HIV in Zimbabwe (FACE) initiative, Minister of Health and Child Welfare Dr. Henry Madzorera and American ambassador Bruce Wharton talked about the initiative's goals to reduce pediatric HIV in Zimbabwe.
The objectives of the 5-year programme are to reduce the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission from 14 percent to less than 5 percent by 2015 and to provide 90 percent of HIV positive pregnant women with life-saving anti-retroviral drugs.
Ambassador Wharton said the FACE programme will offer critical life-saving support for the women and children of Zimbabwe through the various initiatives to support the prevention of the mother-to-child transmission.
Ambassador Wharton said the U.S government remains committed to supporting Zimbabwe’s health sector.
He said the U.S government will provide nearly $95 million over the next year to support critical prevention, care, and treatment interventions in Zimbabwe.
Dr. Madzorera said the Zimbabwe government values what he called a "continued partnership" with the American government.
He said the U.S government has been unwavering in its support to Zimbabwe’s health sector.
The programme launched Wednesday is being implemented by a consortium of non-governmental organisations led by the Organisation for Public Health Interventions and Development (OPHID).
Other organisations implementing the grant are JF Kapnek Trust, the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
FACE initiative director Patricia Mbetu said it was critical to reach children and their mothers with life-saving care as more than 150,000 children are living with HIV in Zimbabwe.
According to the U.S Agency for International Development, the U.S provides broad support for Zimbabwe to address HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and other health challenges.
Since 2000, just to combat HIV and AIDS, the United States government has granted nearly $300 million to Zimbabwe.