Goromonzi district has run out of male condoms, putting many sexually active people at risk at a time when the local village health workers have upped the fight against new HIV infections
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
This was revealed by Mwanza Health Centre committee chairperson Erica Nhapi during a media tour organised by the National Aids Council (NAC) of Mashonaland East.
Nhapi said the shortage of condoms has put most people at risk of HIV infections as well as sexually transmitted diseases. “We have a crisis. It’s now three months since we have had the shortage. It is putting our work under a tight situation. I don’t know how to solve this situation,” Nhapi said.
With funding from NAC and other health stakeholders, community health workers have embarked on various community initiatives aimed at improving accessibility of health services such as the door-to-do delivery of anti-retrovirial drugs to those who would have tested positive, as well as close monitoring of the same to ensure adherence to treatment.
“The problem of condoms has been on-going for three months and this definitely puts many at risk of STIs,” Nhapi said.
Through health workers’ initiatives, NAC and Africad Zvandiri, have also established groups that cater for adolescents who are HIV-positive, but would not have been initiated on treatment.
Zimbabwe has set 2030 as the target for an HIV and Aids-free generation and has lined up programmes which include protection, prevention, treatment and prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
In Mashonaland East, NAC has selected Marondera, Macheke and Murehwa rural as the hotspots and various projects have been initiated such as voluntary testing and male circumcision to prevent new infections.
“We have won the battle against discrimination and segregation and now we are dealing with adherence to treatment. The challenge has been men. Most of them are shy to get tested or they are shy to get treatment. So we have decided to remove barriers that scare away people from being tested,” Nhapi said.
In Marondera, the district Aids co-ordinator, Sabestian Manjengwa said through various initiatives, the HIV prevalence rate has dropped from 21,6% to 15,8% and cases of new HIV infections have dropped from 2 000 to 1 400 annually.