Zim minister wants door-to-door HIV tests

2011-09-10 12:00

Special Report

Mugabe's oldest allies fear being sidelined if he leaves office
Mugabe's oldest allies fear being sidelined if he leaves office

The oldest members of the ruling Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe reportedly want President Robert Mugabe, 91, to remain in office because they fear being sidelined by the younger generation if he leaves.

Harare - Door-to-door testing for HIV could be part of a new attempt by Zimbabwe's health minister to curb infections, state media reported on Saturday.

"We must be innovative and embrace new approaches such as the know-your-HIV status campaigns through door-to-door testing," said Henry Madzorera.

At least one in seven Zimbabweans are believed to be positive for the HIV virus, a precursor to Aids. But testing remains optional in Zimbabwe.

Critics say the lack of adequate anti-retroviral drugs for those found to be HIV-positive deters many from seeking to discover their status. New figures revealed at the conference show up to 7 000 children die in Zimbabwe every year because they cannot access appropriate medicine.

But Madzorera, who was speaking at the close of a national Aids conference this week, said it was important that every Zimbabwean "knows their status", the official Herald newspaper reported.

Zimbabwe's vice premier, Thokozani Khupe, recently announced an ambitious plan to have all male ministers in President Robert Mugabe's cabinet circumcised in a bid to encourage other men to participate in a nationwide circumcision campaign, aimed at cutting HIV rates.

Director of the tuberculosis and Aids unit in the Health Ministry, Owen Mugurungi, said Zimbabweans needed to be "brave enough" to accept door-to-door testing.

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Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  health  |  southern africa  |  hiv


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