Since COP 2015, the PEPFAR team has been meeting with Civil Society Organizations (CSO) core group and other stakeholders on at least a quarterly basis to give input in the development of the Country Operation Plan (COP). PEPFAR programming is guided by five (5) Key Agendas designed to attain; impact; efficiency; sustainability; strengthen partnerships and prioritizing respect for human rights. Collaborating with key stakeholders including community organizations to help generate demand, support adherence and retention efforts and strengthen linkages and referrals is crucial for success. Whilst PEPFAR support is guided by the 2017 Zimbabwe National Strategic Plan (ZNASPIII), it is important to understand different perspectives on what will be considered credible evidence of outcomes and impact from all stakeholders. In that light, PEPFAR held the first COP planning meeting in Bulawayo.
The PEPFAR team mainly shared key outputs from the planning retreat meeting while CSOs also had input from regional consultative sessions held to collate input from the Global Fund funding request development and COP17 strategic priorities. Speaking at this important meeting, Mark Troger, the PEPFAR Coordinator, announced that, “the Zimbabwe country program had been allocated the requested $145 million to expand HIV treatment and care with relevant treatment monitoring using viral load (VL) routine checks. The additional funds are for accelerating treatment for children as well as increasing participation for and voluntary medical male circumcision.
PEPFAR also made history by engaging the private sector in the COP planning for the first time noting the importance of ensuring that non PEPFAR supported districts are not left out of HIV and AIDS related programming. Private sector representatives present at the meeting highlighted their critical role in reaching out to men as they mainly operate in the workplace. This collaboration has huge potential for reaching out to males.