Zimbabwe Set To Attain 'Universal' ARV Coverage

“Zimbabwe is set to attain ‘universal’ coverage for AIDS treatment thanks in part to an $84 million disbursement [on Tuesday] by the United Nations-backed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” the U.N. News Centre reports (10/2). “The new disbursement will cover the cost of life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for an additional 10,000 new patients, bringing the total number of people on treatment with Global Fund support to 203,440 by the end of the year,” the Global Fund announced in a press release. The funding also will support a six-month ARV buffer stock to prevent treatment interruptions for the 480,000 patients on therapy in Zimbabwe, the press release notes (10/2). The Global Fund’s announcement to support additional patients comes together with an announcement from PEPFAR to increase the number of patients supported by its program from 80,000 to 140,000, with a goal of having 160,000 patients on therapy by the end of next year, Zimbabwe’s Herald notes.

“The Global Fund program will complement government’s ongoing rollout program under the AIDS Levy, which [provides therapy] for 124,000 people, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) that is funding treatment for 35,900 patients,” the newspaper writes (Chipunza, 10/3). According to the U.N. News Centre, “some 85 percent of adults in need of ARV treatment in Zimbabwe are projected to be covered in the coming months,” which “constitutes ‘universal’ coverage — defined as occurring when at least 80 percent of the people in need have access to the required drugs” (10/2).