First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has urged men to act to end health-related problems and gender-based violence in a bid to ensure prolonged life, especially in the wake of the HIV and Aids pandemic.
BY VANESSA GONYE
Mnangagwa said this while speaking at the People Living with HIV men’s forum hosted by the National Aids Council (NAC) and the Health ministry, where men were given a platform to explore HIV and Aids issues affecting them and to interact with the First Lady.
She said men should develop a tendency to seek health services to curb effects of premature death as they were the heads of families, and their deaths would be a huge blow to their dependants.
“Some men use their partners as proxies of their own health. It also appears to me that men have a challenge with seeking health services,” Mnangagwa said.
She bemoaned the fact that men only sought healthcare services when it would be too late to save them.
“How difficult it is that the father dies, leaving behind the family to suffer. We should try by all means to safeguard our health to avoid premature deaths,” the First Lady said.
She called for an inclusive approach to solving gender-based violence and early childhood marriages.
Mnangagwa also called for the review of paternity leave, saying it would help ease the burden on women.
“The idea of 50-50 (gender equality) is for the workplace. At home, we ask for the father’s love and attention. There is need to review the issue of paternity leave,” she said.
“We need the help of our spouses. It helps in reducing promiscuity, thereby reducing the risk of HIV transmission.”
Mnangagwa lamented the fact that men remained the worst perpetrators of gender-based violence.
Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo said men’s negative attitude towards procuring health services was worrisome as it has resulted in increased HIV-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
“We are faced with a rising prevalence of NCDs like diabetes, BP and arthritis. This has led to increased premature deaths as we have inadequate resources to tackle this problem,” he said.
Director for HIV and TB services in the Health ministry, Owen Mugurungi, urged men to embrace HIV testing and get early treatment.