Remarks by PEPFAR Senior HIV Financing Advisor Rhoda Ohito
HIV/TB Services Mapping Stakeholder Validation Meeting
Neelkanth Sarovar Premiere Hotel, Lusaka, Zambia
September 13, 2019
Dr. Kennedy Malama, Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Ministry of Health
Dr. Victor Mukonka, Director General, National AIDS Council
Dr. Tharcisse Barihuta, UNAIDS Country Director
Representatives of Government Ministries and Departments
Distinguished guests, ladies and Gentlemen
All other protocols observed
I am delighted to be here today to provide a few remarks as we begin this HIV and TB Service Mapping Validation Meeting.
I would like to recognize and thank the Government of the Republic of Zambia and UNAIDS for undertaking this critical initiative.
The Zambian government’s leadership has created an environment that has allowed partners working in the HIV/AIDS response to work well together with shared responsibility and mutual accountability to all Zambians.
Since 2004, the U.S. government, through PEPFAR, has contributed over $4 billion in support of Zambia’s national HIV response. This includes approximately $70 million for TB. These contributions to the national response demonstrate the U.S. government’s commitment to reaching HIV epidemic control in Zambia through the generosity of the American people.
As we move closer to reaching HIV epidemic control, it is vital that we use every resource efficiently and effectively.
The results of this mapping exercise will increase our understanding of HIV and TB related health services across all provinces and districts, enable better planning, identify critical gaps, and assist in the realization of a stronger, healthier Zambia.
The results will also bring clarity and understanding about where our partners are working and the number and type of services they are providing. This will bring us one step closer to ensuring that no population or area is left behind as Zambia heads towards epidemic control.
PEPFAR plans to support approximately 12,000 community health workers in the next year, and we appreciate the perspective these results will bring to the planning and deployment of these workers which will be done in partnership with the Zambian government.
The results of this validation meeting also have the potential to help all stakeholders address factors that contribute to low linkage, retention, and adherence, such as long wait times and long distances to service delivery points.
I am certain that mapping all public and private HIV and TB related health services has been a massive undertaking, but I would like to underscore its importance in helping all partners understand how to best serve the Zambian people, reduce duplication of services, and improve the availability of HIV and TB services throughout the country.
In closing, I would like to once again emphasize that availability, accessibility, coverage and quality of services are key to controlling HIV and TB. It is my hope that as a result of this validation exercise today there will be more tangible data for evidence-based decision-making about the allocation and distribution of resources and service delivery to strengthen Zambia’s national HIV/AIDS response.
I am glad to be part of this important exercise and look forward to the outcome of the validation meeting. Thank you.