Africa Now March 2, 2016
Topics: The Continued Struggle Against HIV/AIDS and Celebrating Women’s History
Topics and Guests: Now we will focus on the continued struggle against HIV/AIDS in the African continent by governments and civil society activists. Two days ago—on February 29—the government of Zimbabwe announced that in March it would commence the HIV self-testing pilot project called Self-Testing in Africa (STAR). The project is funded by UNITAID and was launched in early December 2015 at the 18th International Conference on AIDS and STIs (ICASA) which took place in Harare, Zimbabwe. Self-Testing in Africa (STAR) will also be run in Malawi, South Africa and Zambia. The Herald newspaper of Harare quoted Mrs. Gertrude Ncube, the HIV testing and counselling coordinator in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care that “Self-testing is meant to normalize HIV testing, provide early diagnosis of HIV and provide greater convenience.” According to Ministry of Health and Child Care only 66% of the 1.2 million Zimbabweans living with HIV know their status.
Taking that into consideration there is some encouraging news in the continued struggle against HIV/AIDS. As Africa Now! reported in December 2015, UNAIDS has noted that “15.8 million people are now on HIV treatment, a doubling from five years ago,” due to countries adopting the UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy to end AIDS by 2030. (from Countries adopt UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy to double number of people on life-saving HIV treatment by 2020) In sub-Saharan Africa 41% (10.7 million people) of all people living with HIV in the region were accessing antiretroviral treatment in 2014. UNAIDS figures show that between 2004 and 2014 AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa fell by 48%.
Recently when Africa Now! Host Mwiza Munthali was in Blantyre, Malawi he had an opportunity to have a conversation with Malawian HIV/AIDS civil society activist Mr. Maziko Matemba. Public health and human rights advocate Mr. Maziko Matemba is Executive Director of Health N Rights Education Programme (HREP) in Blantyre, Malawi. Mr. Matemba has 15 years of diverse working experience in civil society and development organizations. He was a resource person in the development of the draft Decade of Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) and also civil society organization representative core team member for the development of Malawi Health Strategic Plan 2011-2016, and a founding member for Global Health South CSO Network among other health committees. Mr. Matemba is also the Board chairperson for Malawi Network for AIDS Service Organisation (MANASO) a membership grouping of 1000-member organizations and a recent nominee to the NGO Board of Malawi.
As you are aware this month is Women’s History Month and March 8th is International Women’s Month. Periodically throughout the month Africa Now! will highlight important issues in society of particular concern to women; and feature our regular Women’s History Month Profile. Today Africa Now! Executive Producer James Pope focuses on the work and philosophies of Claudia Jones and Esther Cooper Jackson.
Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC. Tune into Africa Now! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).