Zimbabwean Health Minister Describes Programs Seeking To Reduce HIV/AIDS Prevalence to Visiting Chinese Delegation
Zimbabwean Minister of Health and Child Welfare David Parirenyatwa on Monday during a briefing with a six-member Chinese delegation said that the Zimbabwean government is working hard to reduce the country's HIV/AIDS prevalence, which is among the highest in the region, Xinhua News Agency reports. The Chinese delegation is on a week-long visit to Zimbabwe to examine how the country is dealing with its HIV/AIDS epidemic. "Although our prevalence rate has dropped from 31% in 2002 to about 24.6% this year, between the 15 and 49 age group, our figures are still very high and more work should be done to further reduce the number of people suffering from the pandemic," Parirenyatwa said. Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland "top the HIV and AIDS charts in the region," he said, adding that Zimbabwe is also among the most-affected countries in the region. Parirenyatwa said that Zimbabwe's multi-sectoral approach to HIV/AIDS prevention has caused some behavior change among sexually active groups, and he noted that the government has established a national AIDS tax and has encouraged domestic manufacturing of antiretroviral drugs. "Some pharmaceutical companies are now making generic drugs which we will provide to AIDS patients at low prices," Parirenyatwa said, adding, "We have also provided drugs to stop mother-to-child transmission." He also discussed a government program that mandates every ministry to have an employee dedicated to HIV/AIDS workplace issues and a multi-country initiative to prevent HIV among long-distance truck drivers. About 3,000 Zimbabweans die of AIDS-related diseases each week, and more than 700,000 children in the country have been orphaned by the disease, according to Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua News Agency, 12/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.