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US helpful, despite politics: Parirenyatwa

By Bridget Mananavire

Health minister David Parirenyatwa has said despite frosty political relations between the country and the United States (US), he is happy with the contributions the powerhouse is making in Zimbabwe.

David Parirenyatwa
David Parirenyatwa

This comes as US President Barack Obama’s administration has increased funding by about $40 million to $135 million this year towards health care in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the launch of the final phase of a US-sponsored Space Creation Project — under which 19 pre-fabricated Opportunistic Infection/Antiretroviral Treatment (OI/ART) porta-cabin units will be installed in Harare — Parirenyatwa said funds from America were improving health care systems in Zimbabwe.

“…we must thank them (US) for that. In spite of the politics that you hear about… I am happy with this,” he said.

“… it helps our people, our people access health care. It’s so important to help our own people,” Parirenyatwa said, adding that “I’m grateful that this has come and the overall cost of this project is $5 million”.

US ambassador Harry Thomas said the porta-cabin project, under which 140 other porta-cabins have been installed around the country, was an example of the strong collaboration between Zimbabwe and the US in addressing health infrastructure needs.

“Our assistance continues to be driven by the country’s needs and leadership in these areas,” Thomas said, further stating that “I am particularly pleased by the leadership that the government of Zimbabwe has shown in supporting the antiretroviral treatment programme nationwide”.

“Through the president’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar), the US government will continue its commitment to support the national response to HIV/Aids by providing $135 million dollars over the next twelve months for health programmes in Zimbabwe. Since 2006, Pepfar has provided over $650 million to Zimbabwe, including $95 million in each of the past three years.”

Zimbabwe’s most health facilities were built before the HIV epidemic and given the new World Health Organisation guidelines for all people living with HIV to be initiated on anti-retroviral treatment, the country was experiencing space constraints to provide essential services.

The porta-cabins are expected to help in ensuring that HIV patients receive services in an environment that is confidential, safe and dignified. Daily News