Zimbabwe Minister of Health, Child Welfare Parirenyatwa Calls on Religious Leaders To Discuss HIV Prevention
Zimbabwe's health and child welfare minister, David Parirenyatwa, recently called on religious leaders to discuss HIV prevention during church services in an effort to promote the country's goal of eradicating the virus, Zimbabwe's The Herald reports.
Parirenyatwa at an HIV/AIDS conference held last week in Seke, Zimbabwe, said that religious gatherings are effective in spreading HIV prevention messages because they attract large numbers of people. "We are aware that every Sunday, the number of people who attend church services is much bigger than any political gathering," Parirenyatwa said, adding, "Therefore, church leaders should take time from normal biblical teachings to teach on HIV and AIDS."
He added that influential people should publicly discuss HIV prevention to help eradicate the disease. Zimbabwe recently released reduced HIV prevalence estimates, and Parirenyatwa said that the decrease primarily is because of the country's focus on prevention messages. He also criticized some cultural practices, such as wife inheritance, that he said are fueling the spread of HIV in the country.
The conference was organized by Southern African HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service and the Seke Rural Home-Based Care Project with the goal of incorporating culture and gender into HIV/AIDS programs. Twelve nongovernmental organizations that provide HIV/AIDS services participated in the conference. According to SafAIDS Executive Director Lois Chingandu, the conference was part of an ongoing effort to educate village residents about HIV prevention (The Herald, 11/20).