BY RUVIMBO MUCHENJE/RUTENDO MATANHIKE
UNITED States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Brian Nichols yesterday said the Presidential Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar) will be assisting Zimbabwe with US$160 million in the fight against Aids, US$10 million more than last year’s allocation.
Nichols revealed this during a site tour of Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) in Harare yesterday.
AMH are the publishers of the country’s leading independent daily newspaper NewsDay, and weeklies The Standard and Zimbabwe Independent.
“The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Pepfar, last year was US$150 million in assistance and this year will be US$160 million,” he said.
As the biggest donor in Zimbabwe, the US would continue supporting health programmes that addressed diseases like tuberculosis and also programmes made specifically to assist children, Nichols said.
“In addition to HIV and Aids, we also provide support for health programmes that address tuberculosis, malaria, cholera and we intend to continue with those activities going forward.
“Right now, we are very proud that private sector and civil society in the United States and Operation of Hope is doing operations, particularly focused on providing children with cleft and lip palate surgeries and other various types of surgeries,” he said.
Nichols also noted that the US private sector was chipping in with health assistance through laboratories that are providing pharmaceutical products.
“Right now, we are looking forward to bring additional private healthcare missions to provide support. Within the private sector of the US, we have an American laboratory which provided diagnostic and pharmaceutical products for Zimbabwe. We want to engage in a comprehensive way in order to improve the health and well-being of the people here,” Nichols added.
Nichols also commended AMH for making great strides in producing media content that is ingenuous during a period he said was challenging in the era of fake news.
“Visiting Alpha Media Holdings was an opportunity for me to see the independent side of the media, one that really works hard to tell a truthful, straightforward comprehensive story about what’s happening in this country and what the reality is.
“This (fake news) is a relevant topic which has effects, not just in the US, but also in Zimbabwe where people are serving out fake news. This makes it an area that all of us need to focus on going forward,” he said.