All roads will on Thursday lead to Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe for the commemorations of the World Aids Day (WAD).
By Tadiwa Nyatanga-Pfupa
Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating WAD, whose theme is Closing the Tap of New HIV Infections.
This theme calls for strengthening of HIV prevention strategies which include HIV testing and counselling, voluntary medical male circumcision, prevention of mother to child transmission, HIV treatment, zero discrimination, no violence and condom use, among others. The theme comes against a background of HIV infections that continued to be recorded.
Hosting of the event in the country’s 10 provinces is held on a rotational basis.
This year’s WAD comes at a time when the whole of Africa, Zimbabwe as a country and the National Aids Council (NAC) as the co-ordinator of the national response, are working round the clock on the revitalisation of HIV prevention so as to be able to end Aids by 2030.
Plans for the commemorations are at an advanced stage and various relevant committees are ready for the day.
Stakeholders and implementing partners are ready to showcase the programmes and services they are offering in the national response to HIV and Aids on the sidelines of the commemorations.
NAC’s provincial Aids coordinator for Midlands, Mambewu Shumba expressed optimism for superb commemorations and thanked all stakeholders for their support in the preparations.
“The support that we have received from our provincial leadership, local authorities, NAC board, management and staff as well as stakeholders has really been great,” he said.
“I am hopeful that the event will be a great success and that whatever will be said and done on that day will work towards reducing new HIV infections in the province, and the country.”
Various pre-launch activities such as the HIV testing services launch, the meeting with artists from Midlands province and others have been done as a build up to the WAD. The condomise campaign to encourage the uptake of condoms for the prevention of HIV has also been going on in the province and in many other parts of the country.
The candlelight memorial, media awards for journalists who report on HIV and Aids as well as HIV prevention awareness campaigns are some of the activities that will be held ahead of the WAD.
In 2013, the commemorations were held in Mashonaland East, Chivhu at Garwe Stadium under the 2011-2015 theme:
Getting to Zero: My responsibility. Your responsibility. In 2014, the commemorations were held at continental level and member countries of the African Union converged in Victoria Falls for the event.
The 2015 WAD fell within the 18th edition of the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa held in Harare at the Harare International Conference Centre. Midlands province last hosted WAD commemorations in 2005.
Globally, WAD is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.
Tadiwa Nyatanga-Pfupa is the NAC communications officer.