June 26, 2017

Hurungwe Aids gala- when the dead smile and dreams fulfilled

Filed under: Feature,health,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:19 am
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By Nhau Mangirazi

MAGUNJE– Sir Philip Sidney once said: ‘They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts’

When Karoi based National Aids Council, Nac official Rumbidzai Manatsa mooted the idea of Ministry of Health spearheading Magunje Aids gala, some took it as a daydream.

It was a tall order and few understood it well.


The late Biggie Tembo

Unknown to her and other partners was that the late Mhosva Marasha aka Biggie Tembo and Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa kept their fingers closed and smiling in their graves.

For the late Hurungwe music icon it was time for their kith and kin to enjoy music near their rural homes. It is here where they were raised before venturing to the modern world but came back to be buried here.

Prince Tendai the ‘Character’ hit maker body lies under Mupfurutsa  village a few kilometers from the venue- Magunje stadium.

Likewise, Tembo who led the Bhundu Boys is buried in Hurungwe.

Both made music lovers happy during their lifetime as Tembo’s band was the first to tour United Kingdom while Prince Tendai’ Barbed wire music, the first genre before Zimdancehall came up nearly two decades later made international impact musically.

Tendai Mupfutsa

The late Tendai Mupfurutsa

These two musicians are smiling in their graves following the successful musical gala recently.

It was a revival when the crowd sang along Fred Manjalina aka Kapfupi,  Freeman’s real name Energy Sylvester Chizanga and Blessing Shumba who

drove all the way from Mutate to entertain the crowd.

But hold on, another late legendary artist is smiling broader as his dream was fulfilled.

This is none other than the late actor, poet and Aids activist Eliot Magunje known as Madzibaba Jazzman in Paraffin drama series who passed on April 2003.

His body lies near Kemureza dam near Magunje growth point.

He is among few of Zimbabweans to openly come out about his HIV-positive status and was influential in promoting better health for people living with HIV/Aids in the country.

Magunje had a dream when access to testing was limited besides stigma associated by disclosure then.

He was angry that drugs to prolong life on HIV patients were too expensive.

By then, late Magunje’s dream was never understood but it was literally accomplished at the weekend when at least 800 people were tested and counselled about HIV and Aids for free.

This is besides over 150 women who underwent Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Camera, or VIAC- an effective way to prevent cervical cancer in women age 30-50 years old.

About 60 people were tested on Sexually Transmitted Infections, STI while over 100 women got family planning services that came close to their villages.

Even pensioners had a chance to inquire on services provided by National Social Security Authority among other services.

Sixty seven Rogers Matanha of Mupingashato village said the gala could have been good to honor local talented musicians on such events.

‘We hope the organizers will get to understand historical background of the area and associate it with current events.  It was going to be good to mention Magunje as pioneer on advocacy for free testing here in Hurungwe.  While Tembo and Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa are gone, they remain our musical heroes’

Nac communication manager Madeline Dube said music galas are making an impact on the society as they offer HIV and AIDS services to the community in a more relaxed manner.

‘We are now offering better services to males who are often left out by other health programmes. As Nac, we are providing HIV and AIDS services in a comprehensive manner under one roof ‘one stop shop” approach’, said Dube.

Hurungwe district medical officer Doctor Annamore Mutisi said there no one on Antiretroviral Therapy, ART with 28 558 people accessing it for free.

‘Zimbabwe has identified sex workers, youths, long distance truck drivers, artisanal miners and prisoners as key populations that need more and targeting prevention interventions. It is worth mentioning  that these groups are predominant in Hurungwe. More efforts need to be done so that we close the gap in new infections. Its no longer going to be business as usual,’ said Mutisi.

The gala held under the theme Closing the tap on new HIV infection, indeed made dreams of the late Magunje become a reality.


April 5, 2017

MDR-TB reversing fight against TB

Filed under: health,News — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:00 am
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World Health Organization, WHO, is concerned about worrying cases of Multi Drug Resistant-Tuberculosis, MDT-TB as it is reversing gains made in fighting TB, an official has revealed.

Giving solidarity message to mark World TB day commemorations held at Selukwe primary school in Shurugwi recently, WHO representative Doctor David Okello said there is need to scale up fight against MDR-TB.

”Importantly, TB is still a major public health challenge in Zimbabwe but statistics are worrying. TB is fuelled by HIV and Aids infection but the trend of MDR-TB is reversing the gains made in the fight against TB in the country.” said Doctor Okello.

He, called upon stakeholders including Non-Government Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and communities to step efforts in fighting TB.

”Let us all join hands in this fight to end TB by 2030 through our continued commitment and action. Let us also invest in care and support of all programs to end TB and leave no area unattended in our societies. TB is everywhere including mines, mobile populations and health care facilities. We therefore must renew our call to diagnose, care and treat those infected as TB is a curable disease,” he added.

He applauded political commitment shown by parliamentarians through health child care portfolio committee that had its members tested during the public event.

 ”The commitment by MPs, UN family, USaid among others will leave Zimbabwe as a success story in ending TB,” he added.

According to WHO, Zimbabwe is among few countries contributing 80-85 percent of global TB-HIV and drug resistant TB.

In 2015, the prevalence of TB in the country was 292 cases per 100 000 population.

TB is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV with estimates of 70 percent of Zimbabweans suffering from TB co infected with HIV.


Filed under: health,News,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:42 am
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MPs waiting to be tested for TB in Shurugwi– Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

By Nhau Mangirazi in SHURUGWI

THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care has urged people to get tested for tuberculosis (TB) in order to get early treatment and avoid the further spread of the disease.

Speaking on the sidelines of World TB Day commemorations at Selukwe Primary School in Shurugwi yesterday, MabvukuTafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) said it was imperative that legislators lead by example.

“If we are saying we want to expose corruption, we must as well lead by example on infectious diseases like TB. It’s high time we are tested and know our status and be cured,” he said.Former Health deputy minister and chairman of TB caucus, Paul Chimedza said the committee was working closely with stakeholders in health sector in effort to curb the spread of TB.

“Community health workers must be equipped with skills to test TB in all outlying areas,” Chimedza said.

“Our thrust is to assist communities on health matters.”

Together As One directr Washington Masenda said there was need to have more nutritious food for TB patients as some default due to lack of food.

“We must improve food security as we move to eradicate TB,” he said.

Minister of State for Midlands province Jaison Machaya said the province had a high TB prevalence rate due to mining activities.

“It’s sad to note that TB though curable has relatively high prevalence rate in the province due to mining activities that ironically drive our economy,” Machaya said.

Deputy director of the TB unit, Charles Sandy bemoaned lack of drugs to treat multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB.

Health minister David Parirenyatwa said Shurugwi was targeted because it was a mining area.

“TB is a leading cause of deaths among HIV patients. We must be geared to end it. Poverty contributes to TB,” Parirenyatwa said.

He said health workers were at risk of TB infections and revealed that MDR cases rose in 2015 from 427 to 433-

A sorry tale to tell in the fight against TB

Filed under: Feature,health,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:22 am
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By Nhau Mangirazi

KAROI — The long journey travelled by 42-year-old Shamiso Mudoka in the fight against tuberculosis is a typical case that calls for the scaling up of the fight against the disease.

Her sorry tale highlights the importance of awareness among TB patients and the community at large.

Soon after she was diagnosed, Mudoka discovered that she was about to travel a long journey to defeat the scourge.

She had nowhere to stay, after her brother evicted her from their family home.

Although her electrifying smile greets any visitor in Karoi’s oldest high-density suburb of Chikangwe, the battle she went through in the last seven years is still fresh in her mind.

A single mother of two children, aged eight and 11, Mudoka has somehow managed to overcome the social outcast jacket she wore for several years and also the disease.

It all started in early October 2010 when I developed cold fever,” she recalled.

‘’I went to the hospital and was given amoxicillin drugs. The doctor recommended that I must have my sputum tested.”

It took some time before Mudoka could get results and the feedback that she was to undergo TB treatment.

All hell broke loose as she could no longer afford to fend for herself because of the burden brought by the disease.

“I had to move to our family house, but my brother, Stephen, could not accept me,” Mudoka says.

Her neighbour, Ambuya Jennifer Mapanga, says Mudoka was a social outcast after her brother evicted her.

“We were touched by Mudoka’s plight after eviction. She was a social outcast,” she said.

Without anyone to turn to for solace and shelter, Mudoka went to Karoi General Hospital, where officials understood her plight and accommodated her.

“For six months, my brother never visited me, but I used to get regular visits from other friends,” she says. “But eventually, I fought through and won the battle with the help of strangers.”

Mudoka’s plight aptly explains how TB should be treated as a cause of concern by both the government and co-operating partners.

HIV and Aids advocate Muchanyara Mukamuri notes that TB patients face more pronounced stigma, compared to other patients, making it a barrier to accessing treatment and adherence.

“Stigma must be fought from all angles, starting at family level, health care givers and the community at large. Awareness must be included with easy-to-read materials in vernacular,” Mukamuri says.

“Political commitment and will must be reflected in costing it through the health budgets allocation. As long as the health budget continues to be as it is, we may make as much noise as possible, but we may not achieve any tangible results.”

The Global TB Report 2016 lists Zimbabwe as among the 30 high burdened countries, with a triple burden of TB, TB-HIV and MDR-TB.

The other countries on the list are Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Central African Republic, China, Congo, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Thailand, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia.

The 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 87% of all estimated incident cases worldwide,” the report reads in part.

“The six countries that stood out as having the largest number of incident cases in 2015 were (in descending order) India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa (combined, 60% of the global total).

“Of these, China, India and Indonesia alone accounted for 45% of global cases in 2015. The annual number of incident TB cases relative to population size (the incidence rate) varied widely among countries in 2015, from under 10 per 100 000 population in most high-income countries to 150–300 in most of the 30 high TB burden countries.”

TB has attracted the attention of Parliament. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health in February 2016 produced a report painting a gloomy situation with regards to the disease.

While TB treatment for six to nine months costs $31, it was discovered that MDR-TB treatment for 20 to 24 months goes for $2 571.

The situation is worse for another TB strain called Extensively Drug Resistant-TB costing $31 000 to treat for 24 to 36 months.

“In this regard, with the economic strains facing the country, prevention and control of the disease becomes key to TB management in the country,” the legislators noted in their report.

They recommended government moves swiftly and reduces the exorbitant costs of the second line TB treatment.

Aids/TB Programmes (National TB Control) in the Health and Child Care ministry, Charles Sandy, says TB eradication is now a success story through community involvement.

“The programme on TB has been very successfully because we have rapidly decentralised diagnosis, care and treatment to the district level and successfully adopted a community based approach,” he says.

The Union through Challenge TB, a USAid funding mechanism continues to provide highly qualified specialist TB staff, managerial and leadership support, materials including equipment such machines and financial support to the TB programme.

The Union director, Christopher Zishiri, says they are working with the National TB Control Programme to strengthen TB control in Zimbabwe in the last nine years.

“Current interventions include enhancing access to quality patient centred care for TB, TB/HIV and MDR-TB services; prevention of transmission and disease progression through active case finding; and strengthening TB platforms including political commitment to end TB,” he says, adding that although funding is always not enough, financial challenges always hinder the provision of adequate services, the Union has, however, helped in lessening the financial burden in the TB programme.

Mudoka, free from the disease, had to go through what she termed “hell”, especially after her rejection by relatives because she had contracted the disease-

October 20, 2014

Confusion over parental consent on HIV testing in Karoi

Filed under: News — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:00 am
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Trust Urengwa speaking to patients at Chikangwe clinic

Spreading the word of hope…..Male mobilizer Trust Urengwa at Chikangwe clinic in Karoi

By Nhau Mangirazi


There was confusion among parents in Karoi town who had agreed to have their children tested the HIV virus but snubbed the counseling and testing here last week.

Some parents expressed concern on why the Ministry of Health and Child Care slotted a day for counseling and testing at schools for the ten day program launched here on Monday.
Few pupils at Tambawadya, Chikangwe and Tafara primary schools were tested in the company of their parents who turned up while the majority of parents developed cold feet at the eleventh hour.

‘’Initially they asked for our consent and I signed but on the day in question the teachers asked children that we must accompany our children to get the results but I was not prepared for this. Although they say its voluntary but once they give a watertight program that it must be done within a day at certain place where breach of confidentiality is compromised it is no longer voluntary’’ said Jonas Matarara of Chiedza.

A teacher at one of the schools revealed that at least four pupils were tested in a class of 46 pupils.
‘’It is unfortunate that there was confusion and few parents were prepared, hence few children were tested as many felt that after consenting will never be asked to be available’’ said the teacher who cannot be named for professional reasons.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted here revealed that some private colleges sprouting around Karoi town were not targeted during the program.
‘’We do not know anything about the program although some of our students are sexually active risking their lives to get HIV virus’’ said a teacher at one of the colleges who refused to e named.

A parent Veronica Muchaya aged 38 years and a mother of three children from Chikangwe high density suburb said she had no time to spare due the economic challenges.
‘’I do not have the time to go school to have me and my children tested as I have to put food on the table for them first before I know of their HIV status’’, Said Muchaya.
She is vegetable vendor at Chikangwe market.

Acting Hurungwe District Medical Officer Doctor Admire Chikuturo confirmed the challenges of orphans and vulnerable groups on the consent to have them tested.

‘’Our target group includes adulthood and those below 16 years who need consent from parents or guardians to be tested but it will be difficult for orphans and vulnerable group some who still need that services. Results will remain confidential but will assist Government in future plans.’’, Said Doctor Chikuturo.
ZNPL+ sidelined

Zimbabwe National of People Living with HIV, (ZNPL+) district focal person Charity Nyamutowa professed ignorance of on-going program.
‘’We were never informed of the program. We are being sidelined but our involvement could have assisted to mobilize our members to be tested. The outcome will not be true reflection of the reality on the ground on HIV status and needs of our district. We are facing acute shortage of cotrimoxazole here and our members are worse affected but we are not involved. Should we bulldoze ourselves if we are not welcome? ’’, said Nyamutowa whose organization has over 60 support groups.

The Ministry of Health launched HIV testing and counseling (HTC) campaign aiming at gathering adequate data to boost resources mobilization for testing, care and other services.

Hurungwe district has 36 wards with estimated population of 370 000 according to 2012 Zimbabwe Statistics covering Karoi town, Hurungwe rural council, resettlement and communal farms and Chirundu boarder post relying mostly on farming as source of income.

It is characterized by existence of high risk groups including sex workers, gold panners, truck drivers and soldiers.

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