On behalf of the staff working for CDC Zimbabwe, I am pleased to share our 2019 Annual Report with you.
Our staff at CDC worked tirelessly to support the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) and implementing partners in all their work. During 2019, we scaled up index testing to identify undiagnosed HIV-infected individuals by tracing and testing contacts of newly diagnosed persons.
Viral load (VL) coverage in Zimbabwe remains lower in comparison to countries in the region, on the other hand, efforts to improve and expand the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) in 2019 have dramatically reduced turn-around time for VL samples, allowing clinicians to use VL results to guide clinical management.
The MoHCC took on the heroic task to conduct a national Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) census to establish the true number of patients receiving ART at each of the 1700+ sites in Zimbabwe and update the age profile of ART patients. More than one million patient files were line-listed by MoHCC clinic staff. To validate the national census, staff from CDC, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implementing partners, joined the Ministry in visiting 114 sites and hand-counting more than 200,000 patient files.
Shirish Balachandra, MD Country Director, CDC Zimbabwe
In November 2019, CDC, ICAP at Columbia University, and MoHCC commenced data collection for Zimbabwe’s second Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA). In 2015, Zimbabwe conducted its first such survey, which provided information on the nation’s progress towards epidemic control of HIV. Zimbabwe is the first country to carry out the second round of these landmark assessments.
In 2019, our work was showcased through the development of 8 conference presentations and 7 publications, a remarkable achievement in our high-paced setting.
None of these achievements would have been possible without the tremendous support from our administration team, whose endless patience and optimism were the backbone of CDC Zimbabwe’s success in 2019.
We would like to thank the MoHCC for nearly 20 years of fruitful collaboration, and for their tireless efforts in combatting the HIV epidemic in Zimbabwe. It has, and continues to be, an honor and a privilege for the CDC team to help this nation reach HIV epidemic control.
Shirish Balachandra, MD
Country Director, CDC Zimbabwe