Supporting AIDS sufferers
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CTA. 2003. Supporting AIDS sufferers. Rural Radio Resource Pack 03/02. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57348
An advocacy officer for Christian Care Zimbabwe stresses the importance of giving both economic and moral support to those with HIV/AIDS, so that they can continue to be productive members of society
Cue: One of the tragedies of the AIDS pandemic is that some of those who know they are HIV positive, or have even developed AIDS itself, continue to spread the disease. Many may feel they have nothing to lose. But how can this kind of attitude be changed? Clearly an important step is to make HIV and AIDS sufferers feel that they are still valued by their society - that their lives are not worthless. Achieving that goal requires action on many fronts: governments need to develop policies to prevent discrimination against HIV/AIDS sufferers, and there also need to be employment opportunities for those who have been weakened by the disease. Creating support networks and increasing public awareness about the disease are also important. This kind of holistic approach to AIDS is being strongly advocated by a charity working in Zimbabwe, Christian Care. In this report Sylvia Jiyane talks to Joseph Gari, an advocacy officer for the organisation. She begins be asking him to explain the links between agriculture and health. IN: ?There is a link between ?? OUT: ??.negative impact on our agriculture.? DUR?N 3?36? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Joseph Gari, an advocacy officer for Christian Care Zimbabwe. Transcript Gari There is a link between agriculture and health. A healthy labour force is a prerequisite for a successful agricultural production. So what it means is like if the labour force is not healthy then there is no genuine agricultural production to talk of. On the other side agriculture has also an effect on health if its not done in the proper way. I mean in terms of sanitation. Like irrigation and the like, they can help breed mosquitoes and then at the end of the day we have malaria and that malaria?s going to affect people?s health. We can have other diseases like Bilharzia, which can be caused if agriculture?s not done in the proper way. Jiyane Which one would you say is number one problem for Zimbabwe as we speak? Gari I think the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the problem that is actually facing the nation. Jiyane And you as an organisation, what are you doing to help the situation? Gari We have got AIDS awareness programmes, advocacy programmes, some income generating programmes which are all aimed at helping people who are HIV/AIDS infected and also those who are affected. Jiyane Would you cite an example? Gari Yes we have got a programme which is done in urban area on the periphery of the Bulawayo city, that is a mushroom project. We?ve realised that this project could help those people who are both affected by HIV and infected in the sense that it doesn?t require a lot of manual input. Simply to take a bucket to water the mushroom and at the end of the day they can have something that they can eat and also have income because they will sell the mushrooms to the people. Jiyane Talking about the same mushroom project, how does the community appreciate the growing of mushrooms since they are HIV positive? Gari Very good comments are coming out of it. One good part of it is like we are also providing the material that is needed for that programme to be successful as well as the expertise. So we have trained people, now that people are trained they are able to grow mushroom on their own. So they are appreciating the programme because one they are getting the income after selling the mushroom. Two, they are also getting nutrients from that mushroom. Jiyane And you mentioned advocacy earlier on. How does this advocacy come in to this programme? Gari We have realised that in our country there is no policy per se, that is actually catering for the people who are affected by HIV and AIDS. So we are trying as an organisation to lobby for changes in that area to the Government that let?s recognise the status of the people who are living with HIV/AIDS. Let?s do something, let?s draft a policy that is going to accommodate those people so that at the end of the day these people are not discriminated against. On the same issue I think the government should also channel some of their resources towards rehabilitating people with HIV/AIDS. What we are trying to do is like we are trying to increase their life span so that maybe if they live longer the more impact they have on our agriculture because they have also a role to play in agricultural production. Jiyane And what would be your message to people out there in Zimbabwe about this HIV and AIDS, seeing that it?s becoming a number one problem in the agricultural industry? Gari Having realised that HIV/AIDS is becoming a new frontier to development in general, into agriculture in particular my message to the people is like, let?s stand up together, we fight discrimination, we fight this spread of AIDS through an enhanced network. If it means forming partnership, let?s form partnership and try to fight this disease HIV/AIDS in all our efforts, so that at the end of the day its not going to have a negative impact on our agriculture. End of track.