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sect not spared from Aids scourge'
May 04, 2005
Zimbabwe Aids Policy and Advocacy Project (ZAPA) is working with
the apostolic faith sect for behaviour change in the face of HIV
and Aids scourge.
At a workshop attended
by members of Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in
Zimbabwe (Udaciza) in Harare yesterday, the president of Udaciza,
Bhisop Xavier Chitanda, said the apostolic faith sect was not excluded
from the effects of HIV and Aids.
Bishop Chitanda said
it was this realisation that made members of different apostolic
faith sects to come together and form a union.
Most members of the sect
are well known for practices such as polygamy, giving in under-age
girls to old men and wife inheritance.
Such practices expose
people to the HIV and Aids scourge.
"There are some
of our practices that we would like to change, practices such polygamy
and the inheriting of wives add to the spread of the disease and
we have seen the necessity to change such practices," he said.
He also said they would
encourage young couples to go for HIV testing before marriage and
ensure that girls do not marry before they are 18 years old. He
said although the change of practices has not been well received
by some of their members, they hoped to reach a compromise and form
"meaningful" policies that would help them in fighting
HIV and Aids.
The union is made of
70 apostolic sects, including Johanne Masowe, Zviratidzo Zvemapostori,
Calvery and Zvishamiso.
ZAPA programme manager
Mrs Edith Maziofa said the workshop was an HIV and Aids policy consultative
meeting, expected to help the apostolic sect in coming up with church
policies that would help to stop the spread of HIV and Aids.
"The workshop is
to familiarise and assist the union of Zionists and Apostolic faith
churches in developing an HIV and Aids policy," she said
She said there
was need to educate the sect, which has over three million followers
countrywide. Some of the workshop's objectives, she said,
were to enable apostolic church leaders to come up with a policy
that would enable Udaciza to work effectively with other HIV and
Aids service organisations and to come up with a framework within
which churches could develop their plan of action and activities.
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