Zimbabwe on Tuesday launched the world's first official HIV/AIDS Toolkit, which forms the basis for a global AIDS prevention, treatment and support plan, reported New Ziana Tuesday.
The package is a product of collaborative work between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, World Health Organization and the Southern Africa HIV/AIDS Information Dissemination Service, said the report.
It was the first to be developed in the world to empower people living with HIV/AIDS and caregivers with minimal external support, said Getachew Gizaw, the federation's senior health officer for the Global Program on HIV and AIDS Health and Care Department.
Gizaw said the World Health Organization has already endorsed the package, making it an international standard.
The package, which is in form of eight modules focusing on basic facts about HIV and AIDS, was pre-tested in Zimbabwe in March this year to determine its adaptability.
Zimbabwe was chosen to test it because of its excellence in initiating different strategies on home based care, said Gizaw, adding that the testing process involved examination by local communities to check how friendly it is before it can be implemented worldwide.
The kit provides categorized guidelines on clinical management, education and counseling of AIDS victims at community level, among other issues. The package will be translated into many different languages including Portuguese, French and Spanish and 16 African languages, in order to extend its reach.
Many governments, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are facing difficulties in implementing policies aimed at mitigating the effects of the deadly pandemic due to lack of technical support despite a number of mitigating measures, Gizaw said.
Zimbabwe has managed to reduce its HIV/AIDS prevalence rate from 20.1 percent last year to 18.1 percent this year. The figure was as high as 26 percent a few years ago.