VILLAGERS in Gokwe in Midlands province are allegedly being fined a goat by their chiefs if they fail to go for HIV testing or accompany their pregnant wives for antenatal care.
Addressing provincial parastatal heads at an HIV and Aids sensitisation meeting yesterday, National Aids Council (Nac), Midlands provincial HIV and Aids coordinator, Mambewu Shumba said because of the chiefs’ interventions, Gokwe North was doing well when it comes to fighting the scourge. Although he could not name the chiefs who have taken such a stance, Shumba said the district was leading in terms of the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. He said husbands are fined a goat by their chiefs for refusing to accompany their wives for PMTCT.
Gokwe North and South districts are number one. They lead in the number of couples who go for HIV and AIDS testing. Husbands accompany their wives to the clinic for testing helping in the prevention of mother to child transmission. Chiefs also fine people who don’t go for testing as a means of enticing them to go for testing,” he said. He said Nac had also made progress in outreach programmes which include condom use in areas such as Zenda and Nora which have had an influx of illegal gold panners.
Shumba said gold panners in the areas had systems in place to fight HIV and Aids. “The gold panners in Zenda and Nora have a system in place. They’ve focal persons where they collect condoms from. We’re however in the process of conducting a study to see why the area has low prevalence and new infections as compared to other districts in the province,” he said. Shumba said of the eight districts in the province, Kwekwe and Gweru were the HIV hot spots. The Chronicle