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HIV-positive nurses call for service group co-operation


Nurses living positively with HIV have called for closer co-operation among service groups and not
competition against each other, if the country is to win the war against the pandemic, an official has said.

Olive Mutabeni, the director of Life Empowerment Support Organisation Care Trust formed by HIV positive nurses, said they found it critical to disclose their status.

Mutabeni encouraged other health professionals to disclose their status as this would go a long way in de-stigmatising the disease.

“It was not an easy decision for us to disclose our status. However, working with the people for several years encouraged us to do that,” she said. “But lack of resources is hampering us from fully servicing the needs of the people.”

Mutabeni expressed concern at the ongoing demands for bribes at some clinics before patients could access anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.

“It is a sad development. Government has to come up with a clear policy when it comes to the distribution of ARVs,” he said.

A recent report released by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights noted rampant corruption at government hospitals and city council clinics, with HIV and Aids patients having to bribe staff at the institutions inorder to get life-prolonging anti-retroviral drugs.

Stanley Takaona, the deputy president of the Zimbabwe HIV and Aids Activities Union, said it was not easy to find nurses disclosing their status.

“Breaking the silence in the health sector is one of the goals towards behavioural change,” he said.

Since the inception of the organisation two years ago the nurses have opened four offices in different parts of Harare where they offer various forms of support to people living positively with HIV.

At least 20 of the 30 counsellors working within the organisation are also living positively with HIV.

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