Paidamoyo Chipunza Herald Reporter
The Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA), launched in Harare in November last year to measure how many Zimbabweans were aware of their HIV status, how many were being treated and how many had a suppressed viral load, has completed its first round of assessment, with 95 percent of the target population responding.
Led by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in collaboration with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, National Aids Council and ICAP at Columbia University, ZIMPHIA is the second population based survey to be conducted in Zimbabwe aimed at measuring the country’s progress toward UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 goals, as well as guiding policy and funding priorities.
In line with the UNAIDS targets, by this year, 90 percent of people living with HIV should know their HIV status, 90 percent of people who know their HIV-positive status should be on treatment and 90 percent of people on treatment should have a suppressed viral load.
In the first round, information on HIV and Aids was collected in Manicaland, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and parts of Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces, constituting about 25 percent of the total target anticipated nationwide.
The study provides up-to-date information on HIV incidence and prevalence, and information on engagement in care and viral suppression that is independent of facility-based record-keeping.
This study has since entered its second phase, which started on Thursday last week and would be covering the remaining districts of the country.
“We are resuming phase two and we anticipate to take three months on phase two to complete the survey. We have 36 teams, 24 covering the northern region and 12 teams covering the southern region. So far, communities have been receptive of the program and our response rates are over 95 percent,” said ZIMPHIA communications officer Mr Blessed Gumbi.
Supported by the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief through the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the latest survey is targeting a representative sample of 22 886 adults between the ages of 15 and 65 years. A similar study was carried out in 2015 with Zimbabwe being the first country in Africa to rollout such a survey before other countries followed suit.
The 2015 survey revealed that Zimbabwe was on course to meeting the UN targets, with a national HIV prevalence of 14,1 percent among 15-64-year-olds.