Harare City signs up to Paris Declaration

Harare City Council is now part of 350 global cities to have embraced and signed the Paris Declaration that commits to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic by 2030.
Acting Mayor Cllr Musarurwa Mutizwa last Friday signed the declaration in the presence of UNAIDS country director Dr Sophia Monico Mukasa at Town House.
“I would like to take this opportunity to, congratulate your Worship for your leadership in the HIV response in Harare demonstrated in this special even that will make Harare part of the 350 cities and municipalities globally,” she said.
The fast track cities initiative began in 2014 on World Aids Day in Paris.
She said by committing to end AIDS pandemic by 2030 Harare had joined the fight to end inequalities in power, status and rights that are a major hindrance to achieving the goal.
She said the world needs to end the inequalities that perpetuate HIV infections adding that strong people centred health services will help in the campaign.
Dr Mukasa there is need to do a paradigm shift in health financing that should witness an investment in community led, human rights based, gender transformative responses and an investment in essential workers, equitable access to life saving medicines and health technologies.
“Data systems that can detect inequalities, and rights based approaches.
Dr Mukasa also underscored the need for HIV services to be easily accessible if the world is to end the pandemic by 2030 as enunciated in the 2014 Paris Declaration.
“To get there we need to re-image HIV services, making them easy to access and designed around people’s lives. We need to ensure all girls complete secondary education and are empowered with the full set of services and rights,” she said.
She urged for the scrapping of user fees for essential services suggesting that the fees should be provided through public systems funded by taxation. We need to integrate community-provided services,” she said.
Meanwhile, Health Services Director Dr Prosper Chonzi said they providing anti-retroviral services to 110 000 residents with 73.4 percent of people living with HIV in the city knowing their status.
Council will soon do mobile HIV testing at selected hotspots and immediately initiate those who test positive on ART.
ART services have been decentralised to polyclinics where training of health care officers takes centre stage.
Dr Chonzi said 94.8 percent of residents who know their HIV status are on ART with 89 percent of them having successfully suppressed their viral load because of adherence to medication.
Dr Chonzi said council will commission new clinics as part of the strategies to end HIV by 2030.
“We will intensify outreach clinics for general and HIV related services. Some of the outreach services will adopt the moonlighting concept where HIV testing and ART initiation services will be availed in hotspots after hours.
“Outreaches to workplaces will be conducted,” he said.
Dr Chonzi said clinics providing TB, STI, ANC, inpatient and outpatient care will be used to accelerate the programme.
The strategies include targeted community based outreach testing at hospots.
“A mapping exercise will be done to identify key hospots. Mobile HIV testing will be provided in the hotspots as well,” he said.
He said self-testing is being encouraged to increase coverage.

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