Zimbabwe Opens First AIDS Testing Center in Rural Setting
June 10, 2003
Zimbabwe has opened an HIV/AIDS voluntary testing and counseling center at St. Theresa Mission Hospital in Chirumhanzu District in Midlands Province, according to the state-run newspaper the Herald. Ruvheneko Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center is the first to be opened in a rural setting and offers home-based care, orphan care and post-HIV testing services.
St. Theresa's home-based care program's 67 volunteer caregivers assist 817 clients and 2,700 AIDS orphans. In addition, the center will offer male and female home-based caregivers kits including: gloves, bed sheets, towels, napkins, disinfectants and detergents.
In 2001, St. Theresa's became the first rural institution to implement a program for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Statistics indicate the project has so far been successful, with more than 80 percent of mothers volunteering to be tested for HIV.
"The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has put in place strategies to scale up the provision of health services in order to mitigate the impact of HIV cases," said Midlands Province Gov. Cephas Msipa. The strategies include a multi-sectoral plan for HIV/AIDS; strengthening channels in treatment of STDs, TB and opportunistic infections; providing Video Contrast Tracker services countrywide; preventing mother-to-child transmission; and bolstering home-based and orphan care. Msipa added that the government has shown its commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS by being the first country in the world to establish a National AIDS Trust Fund.
HIV/AIDS kills more than 2,000 people every week in Zimbabwe, where an estimated three out of 10 pregnant women are infected with the virus.
Xinhua News Agency
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.