Her Royal Highness Chieftainess Chiawa leading the way for the SAfAIDS Rock Leaders 90 programme in Kafue District, Zambia
KAFUE, 26 October 2016 - Chieftainess HRH Chiawa of Kafue District in Zambia has gone against the odds by committing her team of 39 headmen to embrace the SAfAIDS rock leadership programme that seeks to strengthen the capacity of community leadership to champion and lead HIV community responses to achieve the UNAIDS fast track targets by 2020 and end AIDS by 2030. She committed her leaders at a SAfAIDS and NZP+ community capacity development indaba that is being held at Kupark Lodge in Kafue district where the project is being implemented with support from UNAIDS. “I want all my leaders and people to embrace this project as we want to see results at the end of the project” she said during the opening ceremony.
Her sentiments were echoed by Senior Headman Chilimanga who said the project has come at the right time to traditional leaders to scale up information dissemination in order to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities. Using a family centred approach will help reducing the rate of teen pregnancies. The programme also highlights the dangers of early sexual debut among adolescents. Chiawa is a hotspot since there is a fishing camp which has increased the spread of HIV in the chiefdom sex for fish deals, it has also promoted early marriages and encouraged extra marital affairs which is a danger to the youths, because it has led to the increase in STI’s and HIV in the district.
Over 30 leaders are in attendance and this 2-day Indaba seeks to increase their knowledge, skills and competences in harnessing their influential role to speak-out and intensively mobilise their communities (including women, children adolescents and men) towards accessing HCT, ART and PMTCT and other prevention services. The trained Fast Track Champions will come up with concrete and agreed action plans that will see them conducting village to village “I know my HIV status” campaign in Kafue. The indaba was officiated by UNAIDS Community Mobilization, Institutional Development and Networking Advisor who challenged leaders to encourage their community members to go for HIV testing as it is an entry point to prevention and treatment.
Dr Mwansa, UNAIDS Advisor handing over identification materials to Her Royal Highness aide
The District Medical Officer, Dr Wisely Kalunga representing Ministry of Health at the indaba indicated that Chiefs are key influential persons who are highly respected; therefore their involvement will give positive outcomes and impact of the project.