Opportunistic Infections

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Zimbabwe: Sanitation Crucial in Fight Against HIV/Aids

The Herald (Harare), May 8, 2006

Harare--THIRTY-EIGHT percent of Zimbabwe's rural population has access to proper sanitation facilities, Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said last week.

The minister, who was addressing water experts from the Southern African Development Community region at an HIV and Aids mainstreaming workshop held in Harare, also said there was need for the establishment of an effective sanitation programme for rural communities to reduce HIV-related opportunistic infections.

Sadc region, the minister said, should fight against the pandemic in a collective manner. "We want stronger coordination and more openness in the fight against HIV and Aids. The media should not sensationalise Aids issues and should give the public right information," he said.

Dr Parirenyatwa attributed the reduction of the HIV and Aids prevalence in the country from 31 percent in 1999 to the current 20,1 percent to the collective approach in the fight against the pandemic. He, however, said the 20,1 prevalence rate was still very high and there should be educational campaigns on behavioural change.

Speaking at the same occasion, Minister of Water Resources and Infras tructural Development Engineer Munacho Mutezo said inadequate funding was stifling development in the water sector.

The minister paid tribute to the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) for supporting water and sanitation programmes in the country. "We may differ or disagree with one another in other spheres of development but it is clear that in the area of water development, we should not," he said.

In response, Swedish Ambassador, Mr Sten Rylander said he was working round the clock with a view to ensure that there was an improvement in the relations between the two countries. "We must overcome our differences as soon as possible," he said.

Head of the Sadc Water Division Mr Phera Ramoel said fighting HIV and Aids was central to reducing poverty in the region. He said there was need for collaboration between all other sectors of the economy in the region in addressing the pandemic. The workshop, organised by Sida, sought to promote best practices on how to hande HIV and Aids and gender issues in water management.

Source: AllAfrica.com


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