The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the launch of a new five year programme put in place in offer services to offer services to 250,000 HIV-affected orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe.
The programme dubbed Pathways will also be extended to 59,500 households and 15,000 vulnerable youth.
USAID/Zimbabwe Mission Director Stephanie Funk stated, “USAID’s Pathways program will ensure that HIV-affected and infected children can access health services, including HIV prevention, care, and treatment, as well as prevention of and response to gender-based violence.”
According to Funk, Pathways which will be implemented in nine districts with high HIV burden will put communities on a path to self-reliance by building capacity in local institutions to provide a comprehensive set of services that improve health, nutrition, and psychosocial wellbeing of HIV-affected and infected children.
Funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through USAID, Pathways will be implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in collaboration with key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Health and Child Care, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Child Protection Services, communities, and others.
Although much progress has been made in the past decade, HIV remains one of the top health threats facing the people of Zimbabwe. Since 2000, over 1.2 million adults have died from AIDS, leaving 16 percent of Zimbabwean children orphaned by one or both of their parents.
The United States Government, through PEPFAR, supports lifesaving treatment for nearly 1 million Zimbabweans living with HIV.