Global rates of new HIV infections have steadily declined over the past years, with the annual rate falling by nearly 25% between 2001 and 2009. Southern Africa remains the epicentre of the global HIV epidemic. I am heartened by the fact that Zimbabwe is among the first countries in the region to have recorded such a decline. HIV prevalence declined from 20.1% (2005) to 14.26% in 2009. The annual HIV incidence has also declined from a peak of 1.14% in 2006 to 0.85 in 2009. My government, through the National AIDS Council (NAC) in collaboration with local and international partners is providing effective leadership for the national multi-sectoral HIV and AIDS response despite significant funding, human resource, and material challenges. Through the decentralized NAC structures, we are able to ensure that services reach all people. Our vigorous national behaviour change campaign and the employment of several prevention strategies must be hailed. However, let me hasten to say that if we have to achieve an AIDS free generation, we should aim to reduce the annual HIV incidence by more than fifty per cent by 2015.
The implementation of our response between 2006 and 2010 was informed and guided by the Zimbabwe National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework. A review of this framework shows new emerging issues that we must address now. We are further committed to fulfil our international and regional obligations including Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations Declaration of Commitment commonly known as the UNGASS Declaration and the 2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, the Global Plan towards elimination of new HIV infections in children and keeping mothers alive, Maseru and Brazzaville Declarations, and the Maputo Plan of Action. As we endeavour to achieve Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, we must ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of HIV and AIDS services to all our people. In this regard we must strengthen our health and community systems to ensure sustained and equitable services delivery
As we embark on another five-year journey, guided by the new Zimbabwe National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan II 2011-2015, it is necessary to focus on specific measurable and achievable set of results. This demands concerted efforts and strong commitment at policy and operational levels to ensure that everyone plays a complementary role in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Over the years, we adopted a multi-sectoral approach in our fight against HIV and AIDS. We will continue with this approach in order to ensure that all sectors play their role based on their mandate and comparative advantage. In this regard, we remain guided by the National AIDS Council in the implementation of the Zimbabwe National HIV and AIDS Plan II 2011-2015, within the context of the “Three Ones‟ principle. This principle implies that we shall have one National multi-sectoral HIV and AIDS strategic plan, one coordinating authority, and one national monitoring and evaluation system. I call upon all our stakeholders and partners to align their plans with the national strategic plan.
Zimbabwe is grateful to the support and contribution of international partners, non-governmental organisations, faith based organisations, community based organisations, community leaders and the communities themselves in the fight against HIV and AIDS. It is my sincere hope that the spirit of cooperation and partnerships, the spirit of oneness that exists, will see us through as we implement this plan to achieve „zero new HIV infections; zero discrimination; and zero AIDS-related deaths‟ by 2015.
R. G. Mugabe
His Excellency The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe
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