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National HIV/Aids Conference report out
National HIV/Aids Conference report was on Tuesday released to the
public, just short of a year after the countryís first ever HIV/Aids
The conference, which was attended by more than 600 delegates from
governments, business and civic groups across Southern Africa as
well as from around the world, took place between June 15 and 18
Key among recommendations in the report, which was distributed to
journalists from different media houses at a workshop organised
by the National Aids Council (NAC), were issues of prevention, care
and treatment, workplace programmes and economic, legal and institutional
The objective of the workshop, according to Mr Tendai Chidzenga
of NAC, was to disseminate the report of the conference to journalists
and agree on the role the media can play in pushing the recommendations
Under care and treatment for instance, the World Health Organisationís
goal is to treat 3 million people by 2005.
However, despite concerted efforts by the Government, it still has
only 6 500 people on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART).
While several others are sponsoring their own treatment and many
others are on company treatment programmes, the numbers still fall
short of the intended targets.
It was, therefore, one of the reportís recommendations that workplaces
adopted programmes that looked after the welfare of their employees
and facilitated easy access to treatment in the event of it being
Couples, the report recommended, should not be separated because
of working demands while there was need for companies to put in
place better retirement care packages
This was because employees, who contributed to the national Aids
levy and medical aid sometimes found themselves destitute after
It was also recommended that effective strategies involving the
informal sector be implemented since the informal sector was increasingly
becoming a major employer in the country.
Delegates to the conference, said they were concerned that with
the scaling up of ART, suppliers might run out of drugs.
They also raised the issue of ART affordability and called on the
Government to take appropriate measures to ensure that raw materials
for the production of Anti-Retrovirals (ARVs) were exempted from
The Government was also challenged to ensure the availability of
foreign currency for the procurement of these supplies.
Delegates to the conference noted that the orphans and vulnerable
children referral system was not clear and was uncoordinated.
Various line ministries, including the Ministry of Education, Sport
and Culture, Youth, Gender and Employment Creation and Health and
Child Welfare dealt with orphans and vulnerable children.
Each ministry, however, had different rules for the children they
assisted resulting in confusion.
Some of the issues raised after the conference have already been
looked into with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe already allocating
foreign currency for the purchase of drugs since January.
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