The centres are Mkoba One clinic, which has 2 891 patients on first line and second line drugs, including children, and Lower Gweru where there are 2 768 patients.
MSF intervened in 2004 at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic collapse, when the health delivery system was almost at a standstill.
Audrey van der Schoot, MSF- Holland’s medical programme manager dispelled fears that patients would be disadvantaged by the handover.
“Due to the success of the HIV/TB programme and the current capacity of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, MSF-Holland has gradually started to hand over programme activities in Gweru,” she said.
“The Ministry now has the capacity to handle all the patients.
“The main reason MSF-Holland got involved in Zimbabwe was to assist the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to address the HIV pandemic.”
She said the handover would be done gradually throughout the year.
MSF will also continue to run its programmes on sexual and gender-based violence, laboratory services and support for patients on ARV regimens.
It has also handed over all its PMTCT activities, adult voluntary counselling and testing and the ambulatory feeding programme to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
Patron Mafaune, the Midlands provincial medical director said government had the capacity to take over from “any NGO in providing Aids drugs.”
“When NGOs come to assist the government, the government has exit plans and as such we have always been working as partners with MSF and I can assure you that drugs will be available to all those who need them,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by Gideon Tsododo, the Gweru district medical officer who said MSF were getting the ARVs from government’s drug stores and were just helping with the implementation of a national policy.
“MSF was getting the drugs from Natpharm and they were just assisting in implementing the ministry’s policy,” he said.
“The handover from MSF has also seen us undertaking programmes to ensure we have the human resources, so those who need the drugs should not fear.”