by Robert Tapfumaneyi | HIV/AIDS|Zimbabwe Charity, INC (HAZ)
The Chinese Embassy in Harare has donated three heavy-duty grinding mills to the Zimbabwe HIV and AIDS Activists Union (ZHAAU), to help its members generate income for their upkeep.
Speaking at the handover ceremony the president of ZHAAU, Mr. Bernard Nyathi said his organisation has never received any donations since its formation in 2006 and hence this gesture by the Chinese Embassy will go a long way in uplifting the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS.
“My organisation is committed to addressing the concerns of people living with HIV and AIDS, and we hope that these three grinding mills will be put to good use so that they generate money that will be used for our members’ basic needs”, said Nyathi.
He added that in the coming days they will visit the Matebeleland North Province and assess the needs of people living with HIV, such as their level of access to CD-count machines and availability of drugs.
The Chinese Ambassador said ignorance and discrimination are sometimes worse than the disease itself.
Ambassador Lin Lin said that “ZHAAU has united all the people living with HIV and AIDS in the country with more than 300 000 members and is a key player in assisting the Zimbabwean government in addressing concerns of people infected and affected by HIV”, adding that “it is really commendable that ZHAAU has made great efforts to lobby and advocate for the rights and privileges of people living with HIV and ensure that they can get easy access to treatment, quality services and appropriate nutrition”.
National AIDS Council (NAC) Director of Communications Ms. Madeline Dube said the donations (grinding mills), will go a long way in improving the livelihoods of people living with HIV in Zimbabwe, and she urged other stakeholders to emulate the example displayed here by his Excellency the Ambassador of China, Mr. Lin Lin, to help strengthen the national response to HIV in this country.
Just recently hundreds of people living with HIV and AIDS thronged the National AIDS Council (NAC) offices accusing the organization of abusing the AIDS Levy, which has resulted in an acute shortage of Anti-retroviral drugs at government institutions.
At least 510 000 people are on ART program, 469 000 are adults while 41 000 are children.
According to the 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS), there has been a slight decrease in Zimbabwe’s HIV prevalence since 2005-06.
“15% of Zimbabwean adults are HIV-positive compared with 18% in the 2005-06,” reads part of the report.
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