(Last Updated on September 19, 2015 by Editor)
ZIMBABWE – Harare, Zimbabwe 17 September 2015 — The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) will launch a groundbreaking survey: the Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA) on Friday the 18th of September 2015 at the Celebration Centre. ZIMPHIA is a nationally representative, population-based HIV impact assessment survey that will commence in the next month and is expected to run for a period of 6 months. The survey aims to measure the burden of HIV and the impact of Zimbabwe’s HIV prevention, care and treatment services. The results from the survey will act as a baseline benchmarking progress towards the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets and help to target programs and resources towards populations at greatest risk and most in need of services and to guide future investments.
The MOHCC, is leading the implementation of ZIMPHIA in partnership with the National AIDS Council, Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), Biomedical Research and Training Institute and other international partners i.e., ICAP at Columbia University, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Westat. The primary objectives of ZIMPHIA are to estimate HIV incidence (new HIV infections) at a national level, and to estimate the provincial prevalence of suppressed HIV viral load in a nationally representative sample of adults. ZIMPHIA will also estimate pediatric prevalence of HIV.
“My Ministry is very excited about ZIMPHIA as its results will offer us a platform as policy makers to better understand the relative impact of HIV at population level and additionally provides participants with an opportunity to know their HIV status,” Honorable Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. Pagwesese David Parirenyatwa said in a statement. He added that it is important that we align our programmes to national policies. “I am happy that ZIMPHIA has been designed to make meaningful contribution to specific results in the ZIMASSET, which is our national guiding blueprint for socio-economic development,”said Dr Parirenyatwa.
Zimbabwe’s success in combatting HIV is the result of a well-coordinated approach to the national response by government. Both the Zimbabwe and U.S. governments are excited about ZIMPHIA and their collaboration in the HIV response. The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has provided substantial resources for this survey. Additional resources have been provided by the Government of Zimbabwe and the Global Fund.
“Through PEPFAR, we are committed to continuing our support, towards the implementation of HIV and AIDS activities in Zimbabwe and in particular, its first HIV impact assessment,” the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Zimbabwe, Robert Scott, announced. “We believe that ZIMPHIA is one of the ways to attain epidemic control in Zimbabwe as we continue to work towards the goal of reaching an AIDS-free generation”.
The ZIMPHIA initiative marks Zimbabwe as the first African country to implement such a detailed population-based HIV impact assessment (PHIA) survey. PHIA surveys will be implemented in 15-20 countries, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. The implementation of ZIMPHIA will set a global example for how the next PHIA surveys will be carried out. ZIMPHIA will complement other national surveys, such as the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, and provide additional HIV-related data to advise policies and programs in Zimbabwe. ZIMPHIA will contribute to a more complete perspective on HIV in Zimbabwe and the survey’s findings will help the MOHCC refine the national response to the epidemic. ZIMPHIA is more than just a national survey; its findings will also help inform regional and global priorities for ending the HIV epidemic.
About 15,000 randomly selected households from across Zimbabwe will be visited by ZIMPHIA field teams. The teams will include nurses and interviewers. Men, women, and children of all ages can participate in the survey, regardless of HIV status. Consent will be obtained from the participants, including the parents of participating children, before completing a questionnaire and conducting the HIV test. Hand – handled computers will be used to collect the information via a face-to-face interview. Survey staff will provide free HIV counseling and return test results for HIV and syphilis to participants the same day and in the privacy and comfort of people’s homes. Those who test positive for HIV or syphilis will be referred for care at the nearest MOHCC health facility.
ZIMPHIA is a national survey being run by the MOHCC in the interest of the nation and requires the support of everyone. Maximum participation and cooperation by communities and the selected households will ensure the success of the survey. ZIMPHIA field teams carrying MOHCC identification will visit only the randomly selected households in order to invite people to take part in the survey. All men, women, and children in the household are encouraged to participate by responding to questions and getting tested.