More than 400,000 Zambians infected with HIV/AIDS would be able to access free treatment over the next two years following a $142 million grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The grants also aim to strengthen Zambia’s institutional capacity to manage its own funds would support the provision of antiretroviral drugs to patients, including HIV-positive pregnant women who need to prevent transmitting the virus to their unborn babies.
The grants would be used to buy laboratory equipment to improve diagnosis and treatment for patients infected with both HIV and tuberculosis.
The Zambian Ministry of Health said it would create 68 new ART sites in addition to the 454 sites that already exist in the country.
The government will also supply drugs to all these ART sites.
The United Nations Development Program signed the Global Fund grants on behalf of the Zambian government.
The UNDP has agreed in 2010 to act as “principal recipient” managing Global Fund grants in Zambia while it helps the government strengthen its institutional capacity, including financial management and oversight.
Through this, the grants also aim to help Zambia resume its role as principal recipient and manage its own funds.
Zambia has a generalised HIV epidemic, with 14.3 percent of women and men aged 15 to 49 reported to be infected with HIV in 2007. The number of people living with HIV and AIDS continue to rise as a result of new infections and longer lives among those already infected and receiving ART drugs. This means the number of people needing ART will also increase in the coming years.