. . . journalists win awards
Monalisa John, H-Metro Reporter
NATIONAL AIDS COUNCIL has been urged to manufacture its own Anti-Retroviral Drugs and other medication and not to rely on procurement of drugs.
Officiating at the prize giving ceremony for the 2019 NAC Media Awards, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro said NAC had to think wider and start manufacturing ARVs and other drugs in line with Vision 2030 Middle Income Economy target.
“Middlemen are costing NAC a lot; why would we want to continue buying drugs via middlemen?
“NAC should start buying drugs straight from the manufacturer while it capacitates itself to manufacture own ARVs,” Dr Mangwiro said.
He said NatPharm would be directed to purchase from Indian manufacturers as NAC works on manufacturing drugs locally.
He urged NAC and the media to continue working towards totally fighting AHIV and Aids in the country.
“Some of you may believe that, because our nation has made such tremendous strides in the response to HIV, your work is done. No, it is not!
“There is even greater work ahead as we pursue the 90-90-90 targets and eventual ending of AIDS by 2030.
“The emergence of new health challenges such as Covid-19 and the rise in cases of non-communicable diseases including cancer calls for an even greater role for the media to keep the nation informed and calls the government to achieve universal health coverage,” Dr Mangwiro said.
He said there was need for reporters who understand the subject of HIV and AIDS who have passion and commitment as well as consistency.
“These awards are for such reporters who are not just driven by podium stories but go out of their way to unravel the ramifications of HIV among left-out and most at risk sub groups of our population and related morbidities such as COVID-19 and a raft of non-communicable diseases.
“While the quantity is good, it is now time to shift from the number of stories written to ones whose content inspires hope and behaviour change among our people,” he said.
He commended the media for being a key part of the progress Zimbabwe has achieved in the response to HIV and AIDS.
“The increase in awareness, the uptake of prevention services, the continued decline in the HIV incidence and prevalence and the uptake of treatment services are part of these achievements that the media has played a key part in.”
NAC CEO, Dr Bernard Madzima said through NAC partnership with the media, the Council takes journalists and editors around the country on media tours to expose them to various HIV and AIDS interventions that they would otherwise have missed in their daily assignments.
“HIV and AIDS have been with us for decades now and the media has been part of the process we have undergone in reducing the overall burden of the pandemic.
“HIV incidence has fallen from 0.88 percent in 2011 to 0.49 percent in 2019, while prevalence has also declined from over 29 percent in 1999 to 13.6 percent in 2019. At the same time, the number of people accessing treatment has gone up above 1.1 million, placing Zimbabwe on the cusp of achieving the 90-90-90 targets and end the pandemic by 2030,” Dr Madzima said.
The awards were sponsored by UNAIDS. UNAIDS Country Director Sophia Mukasa Monico also urged NAC to start manufacturing drugs rather than buying from other manufacturers.
The winners were Robin Muchetu of Sunday News who bagged the first print media award while Forward Nyanyiwa writing for Sunday Mail and Sindiso Mhlope got the first and second runner up slots.
In electronic media Thulani Siziba of Radio Zimbabwe got the first prize while ZiFM’s Zororai Nkomo and CapiTalk FM’s Donald Mukota for second and third prizes.
Muchetu was given another award for being outstanding journalist while her runners up were Jeff Moyo of New York Times and Michael Gwasira of Health Times.
Pictures by Takawira Dapi (Photovet)