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Zimbabwe Marks World Aids Day; More Help for Rural Residents Urged


Country Director Emmanuel Gasa of the Aids and Arts Foundation International said Harare must do more to save lives, especially in underserved rural communities

Thousands of Zimbabweans gathered on Wednesday in Kadoma to mark World Aids Day as the country took stock of the human loss from the pandemic and the progress made in responding to it.

Musicians such as Tongai Moyo and Suluman Chimbetu entertained the crowd in Kadoma's Rimuka Stadium with AIDS prevention messages.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera promised that the government would redouble its efforts to slow the pace of the pandemic and eventually stop it.

Country Director Emmanuel Gasa of the Aids and Arts Foundation International said that while the fanfare in Kadoma was good to remind Zimbabweans of what must be done, Harare must do more to save lives, especially in underserved rural communities.

Martha Tholanah, an activist who has been living openly with HIV for years, says the Zimbabean health care system is failing to serve people like her.

The Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS said more training is needed for support group leaders who provide counseling following HIV diagnosis.

Network Program Manager Sipho Mahlangu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that his organization has designed a tutorial for group leaders.

As usual, World Aids Day brought new research on HIV/AIDS and calls for stronger action against the disease. A recen report from UNAIDS, for example, noted significant gains in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. VOA’s Joe De Capua reported on one organization that has played a key role in achieving such gains.

But the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders reports new obstacles to making AIDS drugs affordable, warning that if they are not surmounted, recommendations for the proper treatment of HIV cannot be implemented and new research will be hindered.

Doctors Without Borders Medical Coordinator Dr. Nathan Ford explained why reduced affordability of of drugs deals a double blow to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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