Zambia is one of eight southern African countries aiming to eliminate malaria in the next few years. Zambia has switched from the goal of its malaria control from reducing the number of cases to a very low level to elimination, defined as reducing the number of indigenous cases to zero. Supporters of the elimination agenda point to the success of the Maldives and Sri Lanka, which received World Health Organization certification for malaria elimination in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Some parts of Zambia such as the Southern Province have made huge progress in reducing the burden of malaria, but the country has not yet achieved overall control. Challenges include shortages of medicines, supplies and health workers with adequate training and supervision at the community level. However, community health workers are unpaid volunteers, leading to high turnover. While Zambia remains heavily dependent on external funding for its malaria elimination efforts, critics have questioned whether the disease can be successfully tackled without building stronger health systems first. Officials are worried by the challenge of mosquito resistance to insecticides and recent evidence this may be increasing, especially resistance to pyrethroids, the only insecticide class WHO recommends for use in insecticide-treated nets.
Equity in Health
THE long awaited Global Fund on HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria is now ready to disburse money to five countries that are still to be named, while working out mechanisms on the rest, a senior World Health Organisation official has said. Zimbabwe is one of the few African countries whose proposal was approved and is set to get $1,3 billion (US$22 million). The first tranche of $55 million is expected to be made available soon.
Doctors at Zimbabwe's government hospitals have gone on an indefinite strike demanding an 8 000 percent pay increase, their union leader Phibion Manyanga said late in October. Manyanga, who heads the Hospital Doctors Association, told AFP that the strike would go on until their demands were addressed.
The health delivery capacity of public health institutions has been adversely affected by the poor economic environment and some clinics and hospitals are now operating without essential drugs and medical supplies. Zimbabwe's public health sector - once the best in sub-Saharan Africa - is now reeling as a result of neglect and inadequate funding by the government.
The strike by medical doctors and nurses in Zimbabwe is crippling the public health sector, at a time when the poor cannot afford high fees that private hospitals charge. Monica Ngwere, an asthmatic patient from Shurugwi in central Zimbabwe, was last week turned away from Parirenyatwa Referral Hospital in the capital, Harare.
Zimbabwe state doctors went on strike for the third day running in the last week of June, adding to the woes of a struggling healthcare system and the government of President Robert Mugabe. Doctors started strike action in the second city, Bulawayo, complaining that a recent evaluation and pay review of public sector jobs had whittled away their monthly salaries.
The Zimbabwe government's HIV prevention mother-to-child transmission programme (PMTCT) has come under fire from AIDS activists over the slow pace of implementation. But government officials have warned that there was more to the programme than just dispensing nevirapine, the drug that can cut HIV transmission rates by 50 percent. Initially started as a pilot project in three urban sites in 1999, the PMTCT programme has been scaled-up. Thirty-five of the 59 registered health centres throughout the country are now administering nevirapine to HIV-positive pregnant women, Dr Agnes Mahobva, the programme's technical Officer, told IRIN.
Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Timothy Stamps, has turned down a call by the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) to introduce compulsory HIV/AIDS testing of all patients, the 'Daily News' reported on Thursday.
Zimbabwe has passed a new law that criminalises the deliberate transmission of HIV/AIDS, recognises rape in marriages, and imposes heavy penalties for other sexual offenses, AFP reported on Monday.
Zimbabwe's government has declared a state of emergency over HIV/AIDS and will allow the importation and manufacture of generic drugs, a local state-controlled newspaper reported. However, Lindy Francis, director of The Centre, an NGO working with people living with AIDS (PWAs) in Harare said that if true, the declaration was "five years too late".