by Brenna Matendere
The two Midlands districts of Gokwe North and South recorded the lowest HIV infection rate in 2012 for the Midlands province.
The two districts recorded a 1.4 infection rate against the average of nine percent for the other districts. Mildred Mano, the National AIDS Council HIV/AIDS focal person for the province, attributed the low rate to the involvement of local traditional leaders who have popularised preventive measures and a high uptake of contraceptives in resettlement areas.
“The traditional leaders like Chief Chireya and Chief Gumunyu have teamed up with their headmen to also force villagers to embrace the prevention of mother to child transmission of the disease,” she said.
It is understood that the chiefs have come up with a rule that states that all women who do not attend programmes to guarantee their unborn babies HIV safety attract fines.
“Unlike other districts where only women who have volunteered to join the HIV fight as volunteer health workers, 5 000 men are active in Gokwe,” she said.