The Sunday News
Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior Reporter
THE Government has set up a private sector HIV/Aids and wellness board to oversee the implementation of HIV and wellness programmes within the sector.
This is part of efforts to attain the 2030 goal of ending Aids. Award winning entrepreneur Mr Johnson Manyakara chairs the Zimbabwe Private Sector HIV/Aids Wellness (ZIPSHAW) coordinating board that was launched in Harare last week.
Other board members include Mr Silvester Mushaike (vice chairperson). Dr Enock Tatira, Dr Tinashe Magumise, Mr Nathan Banda, Mr John Mufukare, Mr Jeremiah Tevera, Mr Emmanuel Mutemeri, Mr Golden Magwaza, Mr Takawira Maswiswi, Dr Tapuwa Magure (NAC), Mrs Ida Chimedza (ILO) and Dr Regis Choto (Ministry of Health and Child Care).
Speaking at the launch of the board the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said the board was also part of his ministry’s deliverables under the 100-day target set by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He said the board’s mandate was to promote wellness programmes within workplaces in the private sector to ensure that the sector contributes meaningfully in combating HIV/Aids and other communicable diseases.
“We have said where is that gap that can be filled by private sector so that we can close it. We are now taking the private sector to fight HIV in a coordinated manner,” he said.
Dr Parirenyatwa said wellness programmes should be taken seriously within the private sector imploring players in the hospitality industry to have gymnasiums at their facilities to promote wellness.
He said the private sector should come on board in the fight against HIV by investing in the local manufacturing of drugs and condoms. The health minister said the country’s fight against HIV/Aids could not be won unless the private sector comes on board.
“We import condoms from China and some people complain they are too small. We are promoting condoms, both male and female. The youths have a particular type of condom that they like. But we don’t manufacture them. So Mr Manyakara, if you want to be a big business, please manufacture condoms for the region,” he said.
National Aids Council (NAC) chief executive officer Dr Tapuwa Magure said the new board would see the private sector complementing the public sector to ensure a strong response to HIV/Aids.
He said setting up of the board was a reflection of the Government’s commitment to end Aids by 2030 in line with global targets.
“This is truly a reflection of commitment towards ending Aids in Zimbabwe. While there is much to be done in terms of reducing new HIV infections, it is encouraging to note that the successes that have been accomplished have really been quite pleasing over the last decade,” he said.
UNAids country director, Mr Girmary Haile said the new board would go a long way in strengthening efforts to fight HIV/Aids.
He said Zimbabwe was in the right direction on track to achieve global targets to end Aids and urged the private sector to come on board.
“In terms of our need for coordination, we will continue to work together. The private sector contribution is quite important and should never be understated. I am passionate about what was said before, the manufacture of pharmaceutical goods. We can’t look back anymore, we have to look forward,” he said.
Zimbabwe has been lauded for making significant progress in bringing the HIV and Aids epidemic under control.
The US Government last year said the country had the potential to achieve the 90–90–90 targets to end the Aids epidemic by 2020. -@irielyan