Gokwe HIV test dodgers fined

VILLAGERS in Gokwe in Midlands province are allegedly being fined a goat by their chiefs if they fail to go for HIV testing or accompany their pregnant wives for antenatal care.

HIV test dodgers fined in Gokwe
HIV test dodgers fined in Gokwe

Addressing provincial parastatal heads at an HIV and Aids sensitisation meeting yesterday, National Aids Council (Nac), Midlands provincial HIV and Aids coordinator, Mambewu Shumba said because of the chiefs’ interventions, Gokwe North was doing well when it comes to fighting the scourge.

Although he could not name the chiefs who have taken such a stance, Shumba said the district was leading in terms of the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

He said husbands are fined a goat by their chiefs for refusing to accompany their wives for PMTCT.

“Gokwe North and South districts are number one. They lead in the number of couples who go for HIV and AIDS testing. Husbands accompany their wives to the clinic for testing helping in the prevention of mother to child transmission. Chiefs also fine people who don’t go for testing as a means of enticing them to go for testing,” he said.

He said Nac had also made progress in outreach programmes which include condom use in areas such as Zenda and Nora which have had an influx of illegal gold panners.

Shumba said gold panners in the areas had systems in place to fight HIV and Aids.

“The gold panners in Zenda and Nora have a system in place. They’ve focal persons where they collect condoms from. We’re however in the process of conducting a study to see why the area has low prevalence and new infections as compared to other districts in the province,” he said.

Shumba said of the eight districts in the province, Kwekwe and Gweru were the HIV hot spots. The Chronicle

Urgent help needed for funds to undergo surgery

BULAWAYO – An 18 year old girl is appealing for funds to undergo surgery at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo. Shaleen Zivumbwa comes from Gokwe and is currently at the Hospital in Ward C1.

Shaleen Ziumbwa
Shaleen Ziumbwa

“My name is Shaleen, an 18 year old girl from Zimbabwe who has been weighed down by tumours since I was 8 years. I am appealing for help to fund urgent surgery; however the hospital has requested that I provide four pints of blood before surgery can be carried out,” she explains on her Go Fund me page.


“The urgent appeal is for donations to fund, drugs, and surgery and blood purchases. At the moment I am not able to sit on my back because of the tumours, I can only rest on my side or stomach,” she said.

“I eat whilst sleeping on my side and most time lie on my tummy. My parents have sold all that they have and have been there for me all the way and they, too, wish the best for me. They do not have money, but they have love. I would like to ask you to help me get better medical treatment by donating to the fund,” she added.

Members of the public who may wish to make donations can send direct to Shaleen’s mother, Ester Mbondiya through ecocash: +263779067671 or alternative through the Shaleen Zivumbwa Medical Fund at www.gofundme.com/munlx8

MSF breathes life into Gokwe North health system

When Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) arrived in Gweru in 2004, in a joint operation with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the effort brought amazing improvement in the city health delivery system.


Passengers push a truck along the muddy Nembudziya-Mashame road recently... The poor road network has immensely contributed to the demise of the health delivery system in Gokwe North.

The people of Gweru were happy with the new health services brought to them. Seven years down the line however, it depressingly dawned on the people that what they had believed to be a life-long health menu, was in fact a temporary meal ticket.

While the government was aware that it was a temporary health delivery arrangement, it failed to capitalise on the availability of the health expertise to impart knowledge to local personnel to enable the continuation of such a health delivery system at the expiry of the joint venture.

So, when the MSF Gweru contract came to an end in 2011, the inadequacy was exposed. Serious challenges in the treatment of HIV and Aids and tuberculosis (TB), especially drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), resurfaced.

MSF, which had by then moved on to Gokwe North, apparently noticed the problem that had befallen Gweru and were determined not to let the same thing happen at their next port of call.

“The strategy that we used in Gweru created gaps in the health delivery system after MSF had left,€ said Stambuli Kim, communications officer for MSF. €œOur objective in Gokwe North was then to reduce morbidity and mortality as a result of especially HIV and Aids and TB. We also ensured that activities would continue independently after MSF pulled out.

Zhomba Clinic

The international aid organisation wrapped up its operations in Gokwe North at the end of last year having breathed life into the district’s health delivery system.

Before then, the health delivery system in this part of the country had been a nightmare.

Elisha Chuma (33) from Kasavaya Village under Chief Chireya in Gokwe North battled with tuberculosis from 2008 until he got diagnosed with multi-drug resistant TB on February 14 2013 which was eventually treated in 2014.

During the five years, Chuma sought treatment from distant health care centres; at Gokwe South Hospital and Sanyati Baptist Mission Hospital in Mashonaland West, some 200 km away. He had to travel that far because the nearby health facility, Chireya Mission Hospital, had no capacity to treat TB.

Chuma, a father of six, was finally correctly diagnosed and treated thanks to the MSF supportive activity that came to his home district. He is one of the many people from Gokwe North who have benefitted from the MSF activity for HIV/TB/Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

Elisha Chuma

“If there wasn’t this MSF intervention programme I would have died,” Chuma said. “Before they came, I sought treatment from Sanyati Mission in Mashonaland West where I was diagnosed with TB. I had earlier visited the local Chireya Mission Hospital but couldn’t get any help.

The sorry state of the health delivery system in Gokwe North tends to confirm claims that government has grossly neglected this part of the country, home to about 250 000 people since independence in 1980.

“Besides inadequate medical facilities, there are also many cases where sick people have needlessly died because they could not access medical attention due to bad or nonexistent roads,€ said Edmond Kabarapate, the village head of Kafurambanje Village under Chief Chireya.

“Chireya Hospital has a large catchment area serving patients from as far afield as Zumba, Mashame, Madzivazvido and many other villages in Gokwe North. I am pleading with government and other organisations such as MSF to help our hospital with a high-terrain ambulance which suits our roads,” said the traditional leader.

Kabarapate hailed the partnership between MSF and the Health ministry, which he said had improved the health delivery system in the district.

“As traditional leaders, we learnt a lot on HIV, TB and GBV from MSF through their capacity building programmes. We have also seen our hospital receiving equipment and rendering services, which it could not do in the past,€ he said.

Kabarapate said the pulling out of MSF from Gokwe North was a huge blow to the district’s health delivery system.

Kafurambanje village head... Edmond Kabarapate

“I don’t think it was the right time for MSF to leave Gokwe North. They had been doing a splendid job for us here. Before 2012 people living with HIV and those suffering from TB travelled long distances to seek medical help, said Kabarapate.

Despite the challenges, health centres in Gokwe North are now dispensing ART to over 4 822 patients, courtesy of the MSF programme.

One patient, Pauline Siziba (52) from Magavhu village under Chief Makore, said she was happy that she was getting ART from a nearby health centre — Kuwirirana Clinic.

“I used to travel to Sanyati Hospital to collect my drugs and in most cases I would even sell livestock to get bus fare. I want to thank whoever brought this programme closer to home, said Siziba.

She also praised the professionalism of the health personnel at Kuwirirana Clinic.

“The nurses at the clinic are so jovial. I don’€™t have problems getting my ART and I have learnt a lot from the nurses here,€ she said.

Most of the health personnel at the 18 clinics in the district are now able to administer ART having gone through MSF capacity building programmes. Twelve clinics were also accredited as initiation sites while six are follow-up sites, a development that is likely to boost ART and Opportunistic Infection (OI) services in the district.

However, district medical officer for Gokwe North Mthokozisi Moyo said despite the MSF roll out programme; the district was still facing a lot of challenges.

“The district has few health centres €” 22 against a population of 250 000. Besides, we have critical staff shortages, shortage of medicines and surgical consumables,€ he said. €œThere is also no radiology service needed to help in the diagnosis of TB in Gokwe North.”

Moyo said poor transport and communication systems were also a challenge especially in areas like Mashame, Vumba, Gandavaroyi and Norah.

He hailed MSF for the three-year HIV, TB and SGBV programme in the district which he said had improved the health delivery system.

“MSF capacitated the district hospital with lab machines and backing power, on-the-job training for our nurses in integrated HIV management and drug-resistant TB management,”€ Moyo said.

“The ministry of health is now equipped with knowledge in management of HIV and TB and all clinics are now administering ART. We will miss MSF support as a ministry. We had established a good working relationship with them,” he said.

Acting provincial medical officer for Midlands, Brain Abel Maponga said the Ministry of Health and Child Care would now try to operate equally effectively without MSF support.

Zhomba Clinic... One of the health centres in the remote part of Gokwe North that administers ART

“They have been doing a good job during the three years they worked in Gokwe North. As a ministry, we will try to maintain this because they have capacitated our hospitals and trained our health personnel through capacity building programmes,” Maponga said.

He said MSF was welcome to roll out such programmes in other parts of the Midlands and called the international aid organisation to consider Mberengwa district for a similar project.

Mberengwa, Gokwe North and Gokwe South are the most populous but impoverished districts in the Midlands province.

MSF handed over the HIV/TB/SGBV programmes from 18 health facilities to the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

“All these health centres are providing quality HIV/TB care. Additional support was given to Burure and Zumba clinics,” said Kim.

Read more from the original source: The Standard

Sipho Makhabane discharged from hospital

Sipho Makhabane

GOSPEL legend Sipho “Big Fish” Makhabane is finally out of hospital.

Although some people were claiming that the singer died after being involved in a car accident, the founder of Big Fish Music is recovering in an undisclosed place.

He was discharged from Life Midmed Hospital in Middelburg, Mpumalanga yesterday.

His wife Grace told Daily Sun the family was very happy.

“He is not home yet but is resting peacefully in a quiet place where he can regain his strength,” she said.

“We are happy that he is getting better.”

Grace said she didn’t want to reveal her husband’s whereabouts but said she would tell him the People’s Paper wished him well.

Johan Sibiya, the family spokesman, said previously that Big Fish would start seeing a therapist to recover from the serious head injuries he sustained during a car crash on his way to Delmas two weeks ago.

Johan said although Big Fish had a long road to recovery, everyone was very thankful that his skull was not fractured.

“He was discharged from hospital and is recovering well.

“We want to thank everyone who stood by the family’s side by calling and sending messages and wishing him a speedy recovery,” the spokesman said.

“Their support and prayers were always wonderful and gave us the hope we needed during this very difficult time.”

He asked fans to be patient and said more information would be released in a few days’ time.

Big Fish has discovered some of Mzansi’s top gospel stars, including Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Thobekile Mkhwanazi and Tshepiso Motaung.

Cotton producer price set at $0.65/kg


HARARE, June 5 (The Source) – The Cotton Producers and Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (CPMAZ) on Thursday said farmers have agreed to sell the crop at $0.65 and $0.70 per kg for contracted and non-contracted crop this season.

Government is not setting a producer price this season following an order from the Competition and Tariff Commission that farmers individually negotiate the buying price.

The crop, referred to as the white gold, was bought at a price of $0.35 per kg during the 2013 season although the price later shot up to $0.70 towards the end of the season.

CPMAZ chairman Clemence Gondo said members had agreed that the breakeven price for most farmers was $0.54 per kg.

“We agreed and set $0.65 as the buying price for contracted cotton after putting a mark-up of 25 to30 percent,” he said.

“But for the non-contracted cotton, the price is $0.70.”

Gondo, whose association represents over 200,000 cotton farmers, accused members of the Cotton Ginners Association (CGA) of forcing contracted farmers to sell the crop at between $0.35 and $0.40 per kg.

No comment could be obtained from the CGA, whose members are also contractors and buyers of the white gold.

Gondo said farmers were against continued use of common buying points in some areas by the buyers.

“There is collusive behaviour at the common buying points as farmers are offered low prices,” he said.

About 13 companies are buying cotton from farmers this season, the CPMAZ chairperson said.

Zimbabwe’s cotton production has slumped in past seasons as farmers shifted to tobacco because of higher prices on offer.

Output slumped to 140,000 tonnes in 2013 from 350,000 tonnes the previous year.

Government, however, estimates production will this year improve to 180,000 tonnes.

Agriculture minister Joseph Made said last week government would reintroduce the Cotton Marketing Board (CMB) to bring order in the production and marketing of the crop.

The former CMB, now Cottco Holdings, was privatised in 1994 and listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange three years later.

About 60 percent of the country’s rural population is directly involved in cotton production.

Man jailed for making too much noise during sex

b_200_0_16777215_00_images_stories_2011_pics_feet_having_sex.jpgWhile most people make some noise during sex, one man will be jailed for it.

The man of Italy, was punished for making too much noise and disturbing his neighbors while having sex.

The 42-year-old man’s neighbors claim that they repeatedly asked the man to keep the noise down as they do not want to be disturbed every time he had sex.

When he ignored their pleas, 12 of his neighbors in Vigodarzere, the northern province of Padua, filed a complaint in court.

In the court filing, they complained that the “screams and moans disturbed the peace in the condominium and the building’s decorum.”

Now, the man has been found guilty of “stalking” his neighbors with the loud passionate lovemaking, which they had to endure every time he had sex with his girlfriend, who apparently does not live at the home.

In court, the suspect argued that there is a difference between stalking and making noise. However, he failed to convince the judge, who handed down a prison sentence of six months.

The man said that he plans to appeal the conviction.

HIV infection goes up 15%,condom usage hits 100million – NAC


THE country’s HIV prevalence rate has risen to 15 percent, a 0,74 percent increase from 14,26 percent recorded last year, statistics from the National Aids Council (NAC) reveal.

The statistics also show that despite the increase in the HIV prevalence, Zimbabwe is still one of the biggest condom users with more than 100 million distributed in 2012.

Speaking at a two-day comprehensive condom promotion workshop for Bulawayo councillors, Bulawayo provincial Aids coordinator Mrs Sinatra Nyathi, said early marriages, spousal separation and low risk perception were still the major challenges in eradicating HIV and Aids.

“Our prevalence rate is slightly up from the 14,26 percent recorded last year and this is an indicator that we still have barriers in our community,” said Mrs Nyathi.

“Matabeleland region still has the highest prevalence because we still have an increase in spousal separation since most people have moved to South Africa and Botswana to seek employment.”

She urged councillors to prioritise HIV and Aids awareness programmes in their wards.

“We need to work together in fighting HIV and Aids and I urge councillors to take a leading role and be at the forefront of pushing for zero new infections, zero HIV and Aids related deaths and zero stigmatisation in Bulawayo. We distributed a lot of condoms last year but it is still sad because there is still a low uptake of the female condom designed to complement the male condom,” said Mrs Nyathi.

Recent reports show that the uptake of anti-retroviral drugs is on the increase in Matabeleland provinces with revelations that scores of women are collecting the life prolonging drugs on behalf of their spouses working in South Africa and Botswana.

Matabeleland region, which includes Bulawayo, has the highest HIV and Aids prevalence rate compared to other provinces.

Matabeleland South and North have a 21 percent prevalence rate, Bulawayo 19 percent, Harare 13 percent while Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Masvingo have 14 percent each.

More than 1,2 million adults and children were last year said to be living with HIV and Aids while an estimated 657 000 were on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).

The country recorded 45 621 HIV related deaths in 2012.