High prevalence of HIV and Aids in mines – minister

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Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu has expressed concern over the high prevalence of HIV and Aids in the mining sector and called for preventive programmes in colleges to curb the scourge.

Mpofu, who officiated at the Zimbabwe School of Mines graduation ceremony last Friday, said the disease was haunting the mining industry.

“The school in collaboration with industry players must therefore strengthen its curriculum in this regard and invest more in health and safety programmes if we are to have a realistic chance of arresting the problem,” he said.

“On HIV and Aids, the National Aids Council has reported high prevalence rate of HIV and Aids cases in the mining sector, largely due to the nature of the working environment,” said Mpofu.

“I would like to implore the school to enhance HIV and Aids preventive programmes to prepare and equip these young graduates with relevant knowledge to deal with work situations after training.”

Meanwhile, Mpofu appealed to the college not to chase way students who did not pay fees, but instead surrender their names to the ministry.

This follows reports the institution was owed over $500 000 in unpaid tuition fees, some of it dating back to 2008.

“We are a responsible government. I have said before those students who do not have money for fees should not be chased away, but their names should be submitted to the ministry and see how the government can assist. Everyone should have access to education whether they have the money or not.”

He reiterated that Zimbabwe had enough mineral resources to sustain its economy arguing “diamond looters” were against the development of the country.