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NAC hosts an Inaugural Consultative Meeting for People living with HIV and AIDS
On Thursday and Friday the 4th and 5th of October 2012 the National AIDS Council coordinated an HIV and AIDS Consultative and Planning Meeting in Kadoma with People living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV). The main objectives of the workshop were to provide an update on the national HIV and AIDS response to PLHIV, to discuss the role of PLHIV in the national response, to discuss the means of strengthening the coordination role of NAC through the meaningful participation of PLHIV in the national response and to chart a way forward.In his remarks during the official opening of the meeting Dr Magure emphasized the important role that the sector consisting of people living with HIV has to play in the response in Zimbabwe. NAC takes their involvement seriously and to illustrate this PLHIV are represented on the NAC board which is elected and approved by the highest office of the land through the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. PLHIV are involved at the highest decision making levels including participating on the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) which coordinates Global Fund activities in Zimbabwe.
Currently there are over one million people living with HIV in Zimbabwe and over 500 000 people that are currently on Anti-retroviral therapy treatment illustrating that HIV and AIDS is indeed a crisis that needs the involvement of all including those living with HIV to strengthen the response in the country.
Dr Magure reiterated that Zimbabwe was hailed for the good work that it has been doing in Washington at the World AIDS Conference and the team that went was involved in serious resource mobilization, and through all the good work Zimbabwe has been doing PEPFAR has since increased its support in the ART programme from 80 000 to 140 000 people accessing treatment.
It is important to note that People living with HIV have been an instrumental constituency both in the establishment of the National AIDS Council and the birth of the National AIDS Trust Fund. Dr Magure went further on to say that he hoped that it would be the beginning of many such interactions with key stakeholders.
Mr Goni in his remarks when he officially opened Inaugural consultative meeting between NAC and people living with HIV and AIDS Forum, said that he was pleased to see that there was wide geographic coverage at the meeting PLHIV. He commended Zimbabwe as one of the few countries that has not only adopted but also implemented the concept of Meaningful Involvement of People living with HIV and AIDS because he noted that they representation on the NAC board and a technical working group that addresses key issues for the sector as well as a staff member within in NAC to oversee MIPA activities. He commended Zimbabwe and NAC who has achieved commendable results in a resource limited setting and a challenging implementing environment. All participants were urged to participate freely as this meeting was aimed at encouraging consultation and dialogue between people living with HIV and AIDS and the National AIDS Council, in order contribute to the strengthening of the National Response. He closed his opening remarks by saying that. “In everything it is important to not we do not represent ourselves but millions of men women and children who are affected and infected by HIV and AIDS because history will judge us harshly if we fail in this regard”.
Also Present at the workshop included Mrs Catherine Murombezi who is a member of the National AIDS Council board and she is also a member of the Mr Chinhaire the National Chairperson for ZNNP+ was also present which is the National Coordinator for the sector of PLHIV in Zimbabwe.