Tuesday, June 18, 2024

PEPFAR reaffirms commitment to support Zambia’s fight against HIV/AIDS with US$390 million


The United States government has reaffirmed its commitment to support Zambia’s efforts in eradicating AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Prof. Lackson Kasonka, confirmed that Zambia would potentially receive US$390 million towards the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Country Operational Plan (COP23) Co-Planning Meeting, Prof. Kasonka revealed that the funding would cover several aspects of the fight against HIV/AIDS, including money for implementing partners, ARVs, HIV test kits, viral load testing, and other related programs.

However, Prof. Kasonka also disclosed that the US government had reduced PEPFAR funding to Zambia by 3% for the year 2023 and 5% for the year 2024. Nonetheless, he urged Zambians not to panic, assuring them that the government had prioritized the health sector by increasing funding towards the overall health budget, including HIV medicines and supplies.

The COP23 planning meeting focused on reviewing the new PEPFAR strategic vision and engaging in meaningful constructive dialogue. Prof. Kasonka said the meeting would examine the commitments and plans for each country and what they would do. He added that the planning meeting would also focus on sustainability programs for the future in the event of reduced funding and resources.

Prof. Kasonka thanked the US government for its commitment to supporting Zambia in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He highlighted that the US government remained the biggest donor of HIV-related epidemic fights through PEPFAR and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Malaria, and TB. He reaffirmed the warm bilateral relations that exist between Zambia and the United States.

Zambia has an adult HIV prevalence rate of 11 percent, and since 2003, it has received significant support from PEPFAR, having had an investment of over 6 billion USD. The PEPFAR investments focus on scaling up and sustaining integrated HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs. The programs also help prevent and treat other diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, cervical cancer, and COVID-19. Additionally, health-related investments and initiatives aim to increase access to family planning, improve maternal and child health and nutrition, and prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

PEPFAR works closely with the Zambian government to strengthen the health system at national, provincial, district, and community levels, ensuring that essential medicines and supplies are readily available. USG funds support the procurement and distribution of commodities such as condoms, HIV treatment, tuberculosis preventive therapy and treatment, and laboratory reagents to health facilities across Zambia.

Issued by Tamara Nyirenda, First Secretary Press and Public Relations at the Zambia High commission in South Africa, the press statement reiterates the Zambian government’s commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS and other related diseases. The government will continue to work closely with the US government through PEPFAR and other partners to achieve the goal of eradicating AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

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