Strengthening institutional capacity for treatment and care for HIV/AIDS patients

Project completed

Swiss Aids Care International (SACI) runs a nurse led family centred clinic in Harare that offers comprehensive treatment, care and support of high quality to poor people infected by HIV. SACI trains nurses to take over clinical tasks previously reserved to doctors only to address the huge shortage on health services in Zimbabwe. SACI also develops and applies an efficient electronic medical record system. A recent external review rated SACI as a centre of excellence.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Sexually transmitted diseases incl. HIV/AIDS
Health systems strengthening
01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019
CHF 4'990'000

Zimbabwe has one of the largest HIV epidemics in the world with an estimated 1.6 million people living with HIV and an adult HIV prevalence of 15%. At the same time, the country faces a chronic shortage of doctors due to brain drain to greener pastures. The number of persons infected with HIV who have access to antiretroviral therapy is declining since 2012 with persisting low rates for children.

Access to health and HIV/AIDS services reflects the persistent inequalities in the country. Whereas the quality of services is relatively good in the private sector it is completely out of the reach of the vast majority of the population.


To improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS and reduce HIV morbidity, mortality and transmission in Zimbabwe.

Target groups
  • Doctors and nurses
  • Public and private clinics and hospitals
  • Health Sector
  • People affected by HIV/AIDS
Medium-term outcomes
  • Increased capacity of Zimbabwe's health workers for opportunistic infections and antiretroviral therapy service delivery through training, mentorship, practical sessions and a medical desk by SACI
  • Strengthened national and private institutions through roll out of components of the SACI model of best practice
  • Increased survival and reduced morbidity of 7,000 patients receiving treatment and care by SACI.

Expected results:  

  • 1‘200 nurses and doctors trained on opportunistic infections and antiretroviral therapy management (300 per year)
  • 15 public missions, hospitals and clinics adopted components of the SACI nurse led model practices and are monitored
  • 7’000 persons living with HIV receive comprehensive care and treatment
  • 15 public missions, hospitals and clinics use SACI’s the electronic record management system

Results from previous phases:  

SACI received funds from the Humanitarian Aid Directorate of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) since 2003 as a contribution to the epidemic crises response. As of August 2013, funding continued through SDC’s Directorate for Regional Cooperation shifting to a broader approach addressing systemic shortcomings. Through training and mentorship of health workers, the capacity of health sites providing antiretroviral therapy and treating opportunistic infections increased. SACI’s nurse led and family centered model was partially rolled out to three private clinics. SACI had a total of 5,480 patients registered at the end of July 2015 against a target of 4,500 patients.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • Other Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • Foreign private sector South/East

Coordination with other projects and actors

Ministry of Health and Child Care; Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM); Zimbabwe Association of Church Related Hospitals; U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); Clinton HIV/AIDS Access Initiative (CHAI)

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   4'990'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   4'962'684
Project phases

Phase 2 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.08.2013 - 31.12.2015   (Completed)