HEALTH officials in Mashonaland Central province have raised concern over the increase in cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among youths in Rushinga district.
BY NHAU MANGIRAZI/KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA IN RUSHINGA.
National Aids Council district co-ordinator for Rushinga, Eric Taramusi told journalists on tour that youths, mostly commercial sex workers and gold panners, accounted for 18% of new STIs.
“We had 922 STI cases as of the last quarter in 2017 and of those, 18% were from youths aged below 24,” he said.
Taramusi highlighted that among the hotspots for new infections are Rushinga business centre, followed by Mazowe bridge and Nyamatikiti, which is frequented by artisanal miners.
“These artisanal miners are fuelling STIs among the youths around the district,” Taramusi said.
He also bemoaned the increase in school dropouts due to early child marriages.
“Traditional leadership have no policies that can curb child marriages around the district due to their attitudes. We need behavioural change from local traditional leadership,” he added.
Villagers alleged that locals who cross the border to farm in Mozambique are also contributing to the increase in HIV infections.
“We have locals farming in Mozambique. When they travel back and forth some of them engage in unprotected sex,” Nobert Muchaka under Chief Makuni, said.
Rushinga district is situated about 30km from the border with Mozambique.