Global HIV, malaria fund would never abandon Zimbabwe — official

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International humanitarian organisation, Global Fund, says it plans to extend its financial support to combat HIV and Aids and malaria in Zimbabwe to December 2016 to ensure continuity.

In a statement released over the weekend, Global Fund spokesperson Marcela Rojo said the world health body had resolved to extend its funding to avoid disruption of the programme currently underway.

An estimated 76% of 347 172 HIV-positive people on ARV treatment benefit from the fund. Rojo said the extension of funds for the current programme is expected to be signed during the second quarter of 2012, which will be Phase 2.

“However, funding for the first phase has been extended to avoid disruption to programme implementation, which includes patients on treatment.

“If Zimbabwe does not have access to new funding, the country would still be eligible to apply for ‘continuity of services’ at the Global Fund, in order to get funding for another two years, so that patients that are currently on drugs stay on treatment,” he said.

“This would, therefore, guarantee that patients on treatment receive support at least until the end of 2016.”

Last week, Matabeleland North acting medical director Nyasha Masuka told inmates at Khami Prison in Bulawayo that the Global Fund would withdraw its ARV drug support next year.

“With Global Fund pulling out this would affect government efforts to combat the disease. Most of the HIV patients are surviving on donor-funded drugs. We need to start planning for life after Global Fund pullout,” said Masuka.

A recent United Nations reports said Zimbabwe remains among countries with high preval