‘Contraceptives programmes in jeopardy’
THE Zimbabwe Aids Network (Zan) revealed that the country has a US$12 million funding gap for condoms and circumcision programmes which may jeopardise the fight against HIV/Aids if not addressed.
This comes as the Global Fund allocated over US$500 million to Zimbabwe for its HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria for programmes that will run from 2020 to 2023.
In a statement, Zan said the country coordinating mechanism (CCM) had endorsed the proposed indicative budget split that will see Voluntary Medical Male Circumcisions and condom programmes getting close to US$3 million in total.
“There are marginal gains for the VMMC and Condom programming which were allocated USD$500 000 and USD$2 million respectively from nil allocations in the current grant.
“Nonetheless, the combined finding gap for VMMC and Condom programming is a staggering USD$12,7 million,” the statement said.
Zan country coordinator Taurai Nyandoro told the Daily News on Sunday that if the gap is not covered, the country could experience condoms shortages that may fuel new HIV infections.
Nyandoro said bridging the gap will help Zimbabweans get condoms for free as they are now unaffordable in supermarkets.
“Condom programming is under prevention but remember that’s the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM) contribution. Other partners will or may also bring condoms but the gap will still be there.
“Condom programming is significant considering the emphasis on prevention especially stopping new infections. Prevention is also way cheaper than treatment. If the gap is not covered there might be fewer condoms, stock outs, limited prevention options,” Nyandoro said.
Meanwhile, condom prices recently shot up with a three-pack packet of Protector Plus condoms now costing over $25 in some supermarkets.
At the same time other contraceptives, including the secure pill and jadel, among others, are in short supply, raising fears that there could be a spike in unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions.