US pledges $1.3 million towards elimination  TB infection

United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has pledged  $1.3 million for the first year of the health initiative of the five year project to support initiatives that seek to eliminate TB infection and develop systems to protect health care workers in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the official launch of HATIPP-Zim in Harare recently, Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Acting Country Director said HATIPP- Zim, Laurie Fuller said with funding support from PEPFAR, the five year project will support initiatives that seek to eliminate TB infection and develop systems to protect health care workers.

“While we are all excited about the imminent launch of the Treat All strategy, incorporating the WHO 2015 guidelines to provide anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to all persons living with HIV  irrespective of eligibility criteria, this strategy will not have its intended impact without adequate human resources to execute it,” Fuller.

She added, “By supporting HATIPP- Zim, we hope to address these challenges by exploring the option of embedding TB screening within an occupational health framework. This way, TB as well as HIV testing may be offered to health care workers within the context of overall wellness.”

More so, she went further to say that this 2016 PEPFAR implementing plan seeks to address staffing gaps at healthcare facilities to ensure progress towards UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets.

“As such, PEPFAR Zimbabwe is adopting innovative approaches to address human resource gaps for HIV testing, ART initiation, defaulter tracking, and adherence and retention support,” she said.

Meanwhile, ministry of health and child care permanent secretary, Dr Gerald Gwinji said the ministry will support this initiative.

“HATIPP-Zim will work with the ministry to develop a national health care workers TB screening policy, and standardized implementation at health facilities through strengthening occupational health services and linking the screening for TB with screening for non-communicable diseases across the country using the wellness approach model,” he said.

He also indicated that TB screening and treatment will be made more accessible to medical and nursing students during pre-service training.

The initiative is a follow up to the Zimbabwe Infection Prevention and Control Project (ZIPCOP) which ended in October 2016 and was supported by PEPFAR and CDC- Zimbabwe. ZIPCOP was implemented by the health ministry, the Infection Control Association of Zimbabwe (ICAZ), the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI). The project led to the development of Zimbabwe’s National Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidelines and strategic monitoring and evaluation framework, supported pre-service training on IPC, and directly supported the implementation of infection prevention and control measures in over 120 facilities across the country.

Prevention and Control Project (ZIPCOP) which ended in October 2016 and was supported by PEPFAR and CDC- Zimbabwe. ZIPCOP was implemented by the health ministry, the Infection Control Association of Zimbabwe (ICAZ), the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI). The project led to the development of Zimbabwe’s National Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidelines and strategic monitoring and evaluation framework, supported pre-service training on IPC, and directly supported the implementation of infection prevention and control measures in over 120 facilities across the country.

CDC has been operating in Zimbabwe since 2000, primarily working together with the Ministry to implement the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in response to the HIV epidemic. In addition to supporting the health ministry’s capacity to develop evidence-based guidelines and strategies for infection prevention and control (IPC) through the Zimbabwe Infection Prevention and Control Project (ZIPCOP), the organization has supported the collection and use of health data for program management and decision making from facility to national levels, strengthening laboratory quality and capacity for patient monitoring, and building human resources for health as well as developing a national Human Resource Information System.

%d bloggers like this: