GWERU — Chief Crispen Malisa of Silobela has challenged traditional leaders to undergo compulsory HIV and Aids tests to give more impetus to various campaigns aimed at reducing the scourge.
Addressing delegates at the national celebrations to honour 500 000 behaviroul change graduands in Zhombe last Thursday, Chief Malisa said it was important for traditional leaders to lead by example.
The graduands were drawn from all the country’s provinces.
Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera attended the function.
“It is quite unfortunate that some traditional leaders still believe in witchcraft and use witchdoctors to deal with diseases and illnesses in their communities.
“The root cause of most illnesses in modern-day society stems from the HIV virus,” said Chief Malisa.
“Chiefs should lead by example and go for HIV testing and encourage people in their communities to know their HIV status.
“Precious time and lives should not be lost in seeking services of witchdoctors when HIV drugs are readily available,” he said.
“Chiefs, headmen and all other traditional leaders, let us drink from one well.
“You can’t have several partners in this day and age because HIV is a reality,” he said.
The behavioural change programme was started in 2006 and is a community partnership programme whose overall goal is to reduce new HIV infections in the 15-49 age group.
With about one in 10 Zimbabweans living with the virus, the country is experiencing one of the harshest Aids epidemics in the world.