IRIN/Plus News examines "Zambia's formula for success" at increasing the population's access to antiretrovirals (ARVs). "Crispin Moyo of the ministry of health said about 78 percent of Zambians eligible for [ARVs] were receiving them by mid-2010 -- just 2 percent shy of the universal access target of 80 percent ARV coverage," the news service writes. "The scale-up of ARV provision has been one of the fastest in Africa, according to the Global Health Workforce Alliance, an international consortium of governments, civil society organizations and U.N. agencies. From a starting point of just two clinics distributing free ARVs in 2004, there are now about 420 health facilities providing treatment, said Michael Gboun, a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) advisor at UNAIDS in Zambia," according to IRIN/Plus News.
The article features comments by Izukanji Sikazwe, a consultant to the national ARV program, who describes how task-shifting, donor aid and politics have contributed to the scale-up of in ARVs in the country.
Sikazwe also attributed Zambia's success on ARV distribution to the integration of its national system: "Training on any treatment guidelines was all standardized ... partners bought into that and worked within that national framework. [Implementation] wasn't fragmented ... and the messages we were sending were the same," Sikazwe said. "All partners are putting funds into one basket, and goods are procured from this one basket. One system at a national level lets you know exactly how much of something you have, where it is, and where it's needed," Sikazwe added (12/2).
In related news, "Access Bank Plc in conjunction with Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership (DCGEP), PEPFAR, Chevron and Discovery Communication" recently announced they are partnering on an educational initiative on HIV/AIDS targeting populations living in sub-Saharan Africa, Vanguard reports (Eboh, 12/2).
According to a DCGEP press release, "[a] feature-length film is the cornerstone of the project and combines the best of fiction and non-fiction storytelling to unravel the mystery of HIV and empower millions with the knowledge they need to make informed health decisions." The release continues notes that the partners, which also includes PEPFAR, have "pledged 94% of the funding needed to produce the film." DCGEP launched an online campaign on World AIDS Day to generate funding to further support the production of the film titled "INSIDE STORY. ... After production is complete, a comprehensive roll-out for the film will include national broadcasts across Africa, theatrical screenings and grassroots efforts from NGO partners, schools and governments" (12/1).
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