Newly appointed National Aids Council CEO, Bernard Madzima, says faith healers and traditional healers should have a role to play in fighting HIV/AIDS.
They control a larger constituency which they lead through beliefs and faith.
Leaving out such a larger constituency, Madzima said, will make it difficult for Zimbabwe to achieve its target to end Aids by 2030.
“We have to work with them (faith and traditional healers), they have a constituency made up of Zimbabweans and if our programmes leave them behind, we will not achieve the target of ending HIV/AIDS by 2030,” said Madzima.
He added: “We need to have continuous engagement with them so that they will understand where we are coming from. We want to work with them for the benefit of our people.”
Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition Zimbabwe National Coordinator Tendai Westerhof said the faith healers were key given the size of their constituency for Zimbabwe to achieve its target of controlling HIV/AIDS.
“We need our people especially women to know that this virus is a physical thing not spiritual, and this was scientifically proved in laboratories, only ARVs for now is the only remedy which we have for the time being, so there is nothing wrong to take medication even when going to the religion of your purpose, ” Westerhof said.
According to the National Aids Council, an estimated 1.2m people are living with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe, and 87% of people living with HIV report taking anti-retroviral medication.