Ministry of Health (MoH)
The Ministry of Health (MoH) on Friday hosted an official presentation of seven health support vehicles donated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The health support vehicles valued at more than USD290, 000 are six Toyota land cruisers and one Toyota Hilux pickup. The vehicles were distributed to priority areas where there are transportation and logistical challenges.
The vehicles will support the implementation of Voluntary Male Circumcision (VMCC), the blood transfusion programme and help strengthen the Programme Management Unit (PMU) of the Ministry in coordinating and following up the implementation of HIV, TB and Malaria programmes.
Handing over the vehicles, UNDP Country Director, Viola Morgan said the vehicles had been purchased under the HIV single stream funding grants of the Global Fund to fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).
Ms. Morgan commended the government for the irreversible commitment shown to improving the health of the Zambian people which was demonstrated by increasing the national health budget and its support to the multi sectoral response to HIV and AIDS.
She also thanked the government for the tremendous achievements made in improving the performance of the health indicators, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the support of the Global Fund and other partners.
Citing some of the achievements made through the joint efforts of the Global Fund, UNDP and co-operating partners, Ms Morgan said significant progress had been made in the national response to fighting HIV and AIDS. The number of adults receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) increased from 323,000 in 2010 to 530,000 by the end of 2013, thus attaining above 90 percent coverage of those who needed treatment. Similarly, the number of children receiving ART had risen to 49,416 by the end of 2013.
In the last three years, the success rate of TB treatment had remained high, between 87 to 88 percent, above the recommended global target of 85 percent.
The response to the Malaria burden was also lauded. Through Global Fund support, a total of 4,8m bed nets will be distributed between June and October this year.
“’This is a significant contribution to the government’s effort of ensuring universal coverage of the use of treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria incidences and reduce maternal and child mortality rates.”’ Ms Morgan said.
Ms. Morgan cautioned that there was still an urgent need to continue to mobilise additional resources to sustain these gains and allocate additional resources to respond to priority high impact areas that were not adequately funded, including prevention programmes at community level.
She said government should seize all available opportunities to submit a strong application to the Global Fund by the middle of this year for the new funding model, strategically to respond to the existing financial gaps and needs of the country.
The work of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health was noted, encouraging continued good partnership with the Global Fund.
Receiving the vehicles, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health, Dr. Davy Chikamata said government values the partnership with the UNDP and GFATM in the effort to provide cost effective, timely and efficient health services to the Zambian people.
Dr. Chikamata said since 2002 the Global Fund has been one of the major partners in the national response to the HIV and AIDS, TB and Malaria programme.
“The progress made in mobilising and negotiating funding and implementing grants was largely due to the strong coordination by the MoH, UNDP and support from other cooperating partners,” he said, adding that any assistance given to government to enable it improve the health of people was greatly appreciated.
He said the three Toyota land cruisers given to the PMU would greatly assist the unit in performing its important task of managing Global Fund grants.
The vehicle given to the Voluntary Male Circumcision project would help in service delivery and strengthen supervision and quality control, Dr. Chikamata said, explaining that male circumcision was an important element of HIV infection prevention.
Regarding the vehicles given to the National Blood and Transfusion Services, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health also said there has been an increasing demand for blood collection and monitoring of services which had resulted in a corresponding need for adequate and reliable transport and the three vehicles allocated would alleviate some of the logistical problems the unit was facing.
Dr. Chikamata reiterated government’s appreciation of the UNDP and Global Fund‘s support saying, “’I know we can count on them continues partnership even after the Ministry resumes its position as Principal Recipient”.