INFORMATION, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister, Cde Kindness Paradza has implored the media to develop more innovative programmes in packaging HIV and Covid-19 messages to make them more appealing and palatable to the public.
In his key note address during a National Aids Council workshop for editors and station managers in Chinhoyi yesterday (Thursday), Deputy Minister Paradza said Zimbabwe can leverage on the experiences garnered in the response to HIV to effectively confront Covid-19.
“As editors and media gatekeepers, there is a lot more that you still have to do to ensure that the nation is adequately and at the same time empowered to make informed choices. As such, I would like to call on you to develop more innovative programmes in packaging HIV and Covid-19 messages to make them more appealing and palatable.
“Often times, coverage of HIV issues is only limited to the gory stories of who infected who and statistics of how many people have been infected by Covid-19, which tend to create victims out of some members of our society, or sometimes, just about abuse of resources. To an extent, such coverage becomes stigmatising and stereotyping of certain groups of society and therefore misses the point and opportunity of giving voices to the voiceless and projecting the developmental agenda therein,” said Deputy Minister Paradza.
Speaking at the same occasion, NAC chief executive officer, Dr Bernard Madzima, said noting the great danger Covid-19 poses to Zimbabwe and potential to reverse the gains recorded in the response to HIV, his organisation has mainstreamed the response to the pandemic in their scope of work.
“Our increased focus on Covid-19 did not diminish that on HIV. We have remained dedicated to our mandate and firmly pursed our targets, with a goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. Recent survey and estimates have confirmed that Zimbabwe has already achieved the 90-90-90 targets by the end of 2020 and is now geared to pursue the 95-95-95 targets.
“While these achievements have been pleasing, there is a lot we still have to do to achieve epidemic control. Our communities still require optimised sub-population and geographic specific HIV prevention services, coupled with treatment aimed at viral load suppression and those that address modern threats from drug resistant TB, non-communicable diseases and the busting of social safety nets. The need for integration of Covid-19 is paramount in this regard, as we seek to bring in check the twin epidemic of HIV and Covid-19,” said Dr Madzima.