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PPC Report on the HIV and AIDS Programmes in Masvingo Province [S.C 9, 2006]
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare
First Session Sixth Parliament, Parliament of Zimbabwe
Presented to Parliament on May 31, 2006

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Committee was concerned by the high HIV and AIDS prevalence for Masvingo Province. The statistics for all the districts are above the National average of 20.1%. The Committee resolved to visit the province to find out what programmes are in place to curb the spread of HIV and AIDS and the intervention strategies and responses for those affected.

Your Committee visited Zaka, Chiredzi, Ngundu(Chivi) and Masvingo Urban. The causes of HIV and AIDS were cited to be due to mainly constant migration within the province. Chiredzi is affected because of the large number of migrant workers in the Lowveld. The worst affected is Ngundu Growth Point which is a stopover of international truck drivers along the Masvingo-Beit bridge road. One of the busiest roads in the region. I n Masvingo Urban there are 8 Tertiary institutions and due to economic hardships, students engage in risky behavior.

There are in place various strategies to deal with HIV and AIDS in the province. The National AIDS Council Co-odinating the Programmes well. These include advocacy and awareness in the communities and schools and at growth points and high risk areas like beer halls. For those affected by AIDS, there are vibrant Home-based care programmes which are also supported by the donor communities . The National AIDS Council has also initiated the Zunde Ramambo project whereby chiefs are provided with farming inputs to grow crops to assist families and those living with AIDS as well as orphans and Child-Headed families.

The National AIDS Council has been very effective in ensuring that people living with AIDS and orphans benefit from the National AIDS Trust Funds. These groups are given food packs, blankets and school fees for children administered through BEAM.

The roll out of Anti Retroviral therapy is slow. There are very few people on ART compared with the demand. The numbers of people gong for VCT has been increasing but the statistics could be affected by the unavailability of ART. The number of patients on ART in the private sector as some companies is taking care of the welfare of their employees.

The Committee’s recommendations are that the National AIDS Council needs to scale up efforts to look after people living with AIDS. The Zunde Ramambo project is commended and decentralized to other areas. NAC should be more effective in it’s co-ordination role so that it harmonizes it’s work with that of it’s partners and non-governmental organizations. Finally there is need to make ART available for all who need it like the free access of TB drugs from any institution in the Public Sector.

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