On Tuesday 11 June 2019, the Botswana High Court in a landmark ruling declared Sections 164 and 167 of the Penal Code unconstitutional. These Sections outlawed same sex sexual relations involving consenting adults. In its unanimous decision, the High Court made   this important remark: ‘Sexual orientation is not a fashion statement. It’s an important attribute of one’s personality. All people are entitled to autonomy over their sexual expression. Public opinion in cases like this is relevant but not decisive. This is about fundamental rights more than the public’s view.’

Each year, 24 March is commemorated as World Tuberculosis (TB) Day; the Day is set aside to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB and to scale up collective global efforts to end the TB epidemic. According to the WHO 2018 Report, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer with daily mortality and morbidity rates of nearly 4500 and 30000 respectively. WHO TB Reports from the year 2000 to 2018 highlight that global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 54 million lives and reduced the TB mortality rate by 42%. However, although the disease is preventable and curable, TB prevalence remains alarmingly high, with the heaviest burden being borne by low and middle income countries; with 9 SADC member states being listed as part of the 30 High TB burden countries (WHO 2018). Hence the need for strengthened collective global awareness-raising to prevent the disease.  

“As part of the global development and women’s empowerment agenda, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are rooted in fundamental human rights, and aim to uphold and safeguard the dignity, agency, bodily integrity and autonomy as well as wellbeing of all; ensuring that everyone reaches their highest potential. International Women’s Day and Women’s Month provide a critical platform to not only collectively come together to reflect on gains made towards the attainment and achievement of gender equality and equity, but also gives room to analyse the gaps to inform and strengthen interventions and initiatives focusing on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Additionally, this day also allows us to celebrate the achievements that women have made across various sectors and generations in both the public and private spheres, and for us to draw inspiration from those achievements.” SAfAIDS Executive Director, Mrs Lois Chingandu

11th February, globally marks the International Day for Women and Girls in Science. The Day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. This Day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened. According to UNESCO (2018) science and gender equality are both vital for sustainable development; however, women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science, with less than 30% of researchers worldwide being women.

 

“Global cancer morbidity and mortality rates remain disturbingly high, despite all the investments that have been made towards prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. We need to creatively and innovatively come together to fully harness the potential of our expertise in technology, research, science, advocacy and information dissemination to strengthen initiatives aimed at preventing and treating cancer.” SAfAIDS Executive Director, Mrs Lois Chingandu

SAfAIDS joins the rest of the Zimbabwean and global community in mourning the passing of the musical and artistic icon and philanthropist, Dr Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi. ‘Tuku,’ as he was affectionately known, made remarkable contributions to the music and arts sector during his legendary career; socialising, influencing, unifying and inspiring hope among generations of Zimbabweans, Africans and others. His music offered distinguished commentary on socio-cultural issues promoting dialogue on key issues including HIV, gender equality, child marriage and gender based violence (GBV).