Zimbabwe: Ambassador Eric Goosby Visits Zimbabwe, Discusses Health Sector (September 2009)

In September, Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, travelled to Zimbabwe to discuss the country's health sector with government officials, non-governmental organizations and members of civil society.

"We are happy to have an open dialogue with government and civil society that allows us to strengthen and refocus our efforts to identify and retain patients in care...and decrease high risk behavior that has burdened this country for the past 25 years," said Goosby.

Top U.S. Government Officials Robert Clay, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and RJ Simonds, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also joined Goosby in Zimbabwe.

During this three day trip, Ambassador Goosby toured several PEPFAR-supported projects, including the Opportunistic Infections Clinic at the Parirenyatwa Hospital. At the clinic, Ambassador Goosby met with staff and patients to discuss the current state of Zimbabwe's health system.

Currently, PEPFAR supports antiretroviral drugs for 40,000 out the 155,000 people living with HIV/ AIDS receiving treatment in Zimbabwe. PEPFAR also supports the delivery system that supplies 100 percent of those on antiretroviral therapy.

Ambassador Goosby also met with staff and patients at the PEPFAR-supported male circumcision site at the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council offices at Harare Hospital.

Goosby commended the commitment of the country's health care workers and care givers.

"[There is] a willingness to maintain their engagement and to increase their focus and work on trying to alleviate the suffering and to respond to the needs that are in front of them," he said.

Goosby said he is confident about the future of Zimbabwe's health sector and looks forward to partnering with the country to achieve its goals of supporting efforts to increase service delivery capacity and creating sustainable health care systems.

"I'm optimistic that we will be able to use the talent and experience of our in-country PEPFAR team and their knowledge of the situation on the ground to develop a response that fits the existing health infrastructure, supports it, and reinforces it in a way that creates a durable and lasting response."

Through PEPFAR, the U.S. Government is the leading provider of bilateral HIV/AIDS assistance to Zimbabwe.

Between 2004 and 2008, the U.S. Government provided nearly $109 million to Zimbabwe to support comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care programs.

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