By Whinsley Masara
The door to door national HIV and Aids survey will start next week, the director of the Aids and TB Unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Owen Mugurungi said yesterday.
He said the $3 million Zimbabwe Population Based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA) will kick off on October 12 and will run for six months.
ZIMPHIA is a door to door survey where selected individuals will be tested for HIV and Aids and syphilis as well as being counselled in the comfort of their homes.
Dr Mugurungi said the survey is the first of its kind in Africa and will be a global example of HIV impact assessment, adding: “The experience will give direction and pointers to other countries.”
“We’re more than excited about ZIMPHIA as its results will offer us a platform as policy-makers to better understand the relative impact of HIV at population level and additionally provide participants with an opportunity to know their HIV status,” he said.
Dr Mugurungi said the survey will start in difficult to reach areas in the wet season, such the Zambezi valley.
He said the ministry would ensure every part of the country is covered to produce the most accurate results for better planning and progress’ sake.
“We’re starting with the hard to reach areas of Zimbabwe cognisant of the oncoming rainy season because we want to reach all parts of the country without fail or excuse,” said Dr Mugurungi.
“Our first port of call will be such areas because we don’t want to have excuses for not reaching some parts that had been initially chosen for the survey,” he said.
Since the launch of the programme last month, he said, the Ministry had been doing successful pilot surveys in some parts of Harare, Mashonaland East and Midlands.
“In the past month we’ve been doing pilot surveys and we visited those households which weren’t enumerated for the official survey.
“There we monitored the response of the citizens towards the exercise and I would like to announce that there is promise of success in the survey. In all homes we were well accepted and no-one avoided our teams, which is a good sign that we’ll achieve our intended goals,” said Dr Mugurungi.
He said the key focus of the survey includes prevalence of HIV in adults and children, prevalence of anti-retroviral drug resistance, prevalence of syphilis among adults and coverage of ARVs in the country.
“The assessment seeks to ascertain the burden of HIV and Aids in the country and the impact of interventions made so far and 15,000 households randomly selected from all the country’s 10 provinces would be involved in the study.
“It gives us an opportunity to take stock as government on what we’ve managed to achieve as a country in the last 10 years or so after HIV was declared an emergency in 2002,” he said. The Chronicle