United States Ambassador, Harry Thomas jnr said his country will maintain, and even increase, HIV funding levels in Zimbabwe despite a change in administration.
Since 2006, PEPFAR has provided nearly US$800 million to Zimbabwe for HIV interventions. Over the past two years, PEPFAR’s allocation of resources have been focused on achieving the greatest impact to reach epidemic control in a short space of time by focusing new and renewed efforts in geographic areas with the highest burden of disease.
“We are very heartened that our Congress just passed the budget within the last few days and our President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding is remaining constant. In fact it will likely grow to almost $150 next year,” said Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr.
He added, “This means we are able to continue saving lives through PEPFAR as well as feed about 2.4 million people a day in Zimbabwe through other assistance programs.
“International aid has not been affected. Congress did not cut international aid,” said Ambassador Thomas.”
In an interview with PEPFAR Zimbabwe Coordinator, Mark Troger he said, “In 2016, reports reveled that PEPFAR reached over 1.9 million individuals with HIV testing and counseling services and expects to reach over 2.5 million individuals in 2017 through revised strategies such as index testing (contact tracing), innovative interventions such as HIV self-testing to reach older men and young adults, and a short-term surge in human resources to increase provider-initiated testing and counseling in facilities in 2017.”
The USG remains a leading provider of bilateral HIV assistance to Zimbabwe. It was the first and still the largest contributor to the Global Fund by contributing over $7 billion dollars to date.