WHO hails Zim for achieving UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 HIV global targets


Gibson Mhaka

ZIMBABWE’S achievement of the UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 HIV global targets in 2020 and the significant progress it is making towards meeting the 2025 targets has received plaudits from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which described the development as a “significant public health milestone” which places it among the few African countries to do so.

In a statement to mark its 75th anniversary, WHO representative in Zimbabwe, Professor Jean-Marie Dangou said the anniversary was an opportunity to stop and reflect on the remarkable achievements in advancing the health and well-being of the people of Zimbabwe as reflected in the National Health Strategy (2021-2025) which seeks to improve the health and wellness of all Zimbabweans.

“It is also the chance for us to come together around our common goal and renew our commitment to accelerate Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through strengthening access to primary health care.

“WHO remains committed to supporting the Government of Zimbabwe in achieving health for all and building resilient health systems that can withstand shocks, including those beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Professor Dangou.

According to WHO, Zimbabwe is now one of only three Sub-Saharan African nations to have met the UNAIDS’s 95-95-95 HIV objectives.

“In 2020, Zimbabwe achieved the UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 targets, placing it among the few African countries to do so.

“The country is also making significant progress towards meeting the 2025 targets. Zimbabwe is now one of only three Sub-Saharan African nations to have met the UNAIDS’s 95-95-95 HIV objectives,” the statement reads.

The agency said the Covid-19 pandemic rolled back the hard-won gains made in health, with a drop in routine coverage of essential services having been noted.

“WHO estimates that immunisation coverage will not return to 2019 levels until 2027 without immediate action to catch up and get back to normal.

“In Zimbabwe, several significant public health milestones have been realised over the past three decades.

“WHO has played a vital role supporting the Government of Zimbabwe in attaining 90 percent immunization coverage, eradicating Polio in 2005, and eliminating Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus in 2002, all of which have been sustained to date”.

“Additionally, Zimbabwe has seen a reduction in morbidity and mortality due to vaccine-preventable diseases, resulting in a steady decline in maternal and under-five mortalities.

“While current mortality rates remain unacceptably high, at 462 deaths per 100,000 live births and 65 deaths per 1,000 live births respectively, the continuous positive reduction of mortality is encouraging,” the statement further reads.

Meanwhile, according to WHO, Zimbabwe is still grappling with the challenge of non-communicable diseases like cancer and hypertension.

“Despite significant progress made in the fight against communicable diseases, particularly HIV and Aids, it remains a major burden for the population, with an adult prevalence rate of 12.8 percent.

“Meanwhile, non-communicable diseases affect people of all ages and socioeconomic classes. Additionally, malaria continues to pose a significant threat to the health of Zimbabweans, contributing significantly to morbidity and mortality rates.”

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