The prevalence and incidence of HIV and sexually-transmitted infections (STI) among workers and long-distance truck drivers in Chirundu is on the increase, with a local health centre attending to over six cases a week.
BY VANESSA GONYE
Cross Border Health Solutions director, Amon Tisibhele told NewsDay during the official opening of a roadside wellness centre in Chirundu last week that the spread of STIs at the border post was worrisome.
“Cross Border Health Solutions took over from Sadc to run a roadside wellness centre in a bid to improve health services in the border town, where sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase,” he said.
Sex workers and truck drivers also welcomed the opening of the roadside wellness centre, saying it would provide the health interventions, as they had to travel long distances to seek treatment while others had to endure sickness silently because of the stigma associated with STIs.
“We are happy, this development was much needed, as STIs were on the increase here due to non-treatment, at least we now have a centre that helps in emergencies,” a female sex worker, who preferred anonymity, said.
“Previously, there was no health care centre or clinic in the area. We were suffering from STIs and it was difficult to get treated,” a truck driver said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Chirundu Local Board vice-chairperson, Iona Coetzee appealed to the government for an ambulance and establishment of a clinic at Chirundu Border Post.
“We request the government’s intervention for the Chirundu community. A lot is lacking as far as health is concerned, at the moment, we do not have an ambulance and STIs are on the increase here, as there is no proper clinic to offer proper treatment for such,” Coetzee said.
Sadc launched an HIV and Aids Cross Border Initiative in 2012, which was a five-year programme to improve the regional response to HIV and Aids among mobile populations, with 32 trans-border clinics established.
The trans-border clinics are targeted at cross border traders, long distance truck drivers, communities around border towns and sex workers.
The clinics are located at entry points of the Sadc countries.