By Lerato Ndlovu
The Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey (MICS) results released last week by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) reflected on the rate at which people are going for HIV testing around the country.
The results indicate on the percentage of people aged between 15 – 49 who have been tested and know their statuses and results of women who were offered an HIV test during their last antenatal care visit and accepted their statue.
Relating back to the World Aids day United Nations statement that read that communities play a prominent role in keeping HIV high on the political agenda, they hold decision-makers to account and ensure that human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.
“People-centred, community-led responses can improve service quality and access, increase accountability, and bring interventions to scale due to the courage of people living with HIV and civil society, the price of antiretroviral medicines has been brought down significantly — resulting in 24.5 million of the 37.9 million people living with HIV currently on HIV treatment.
“Communities are also delivering HIV prevention and treatment services, advocating for the removal of punitive laws and policies that hinder the HIV response and providing data through community-led monitoring of health services and systems.” It read “Moreover, communities play a prominent role in keeping HIV high on the political agenda, they hold decision-makers to account and ensure that human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.
“Indeed, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises the central role of communities play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and delivering on the pledge to leave no one behind.”
Mr Handrick Chigiji the MICS finding presenter said that there seems to be motivation in women to be tested more than the men countrywide, hence there should be a measure to encourage them to be tested too.
“From the statistics gathered it shows that women are motivated more to go HIV testing than men, which is also a cause of concern, measures should be taken to encourage them on the importance of knowing their health status, nationwide men stand at 47 percent, ordinary women 61 percent while those tested during anti-natal care stand at 65 percent”.
The study shows on provincial data that men and women in rural areas give themselves time to visit clinics and get tested more than those in urban areas.
“The total provincial data is calculated by summing the age-specific HIV testing rates, calculated for Men and women tested within the last 12 months and know their statuses and women tested when they went for anti-natal care all ranging from age 15 to age 49,” it read.
“The statistics show that Matebeleland North has the highest percentage of women getting tested when they went for Anti Natal care with 84 percent, while Midlands and Masvingo had the lowest standing at 57 percent.
“For men and women tested in the last 12 months and know their results: for men, Masvingo has the highest with 58 percent and Matebeleland North with 37 percent; for women Mashonaland Central, Matebeleland South and North have the highest standing at 63 percent and Bulawayo Metropolitan with the lowest at 57 percent.
During the discussion it was asked why there were high testing rates in rural than urban areas, the responses were not clear but mostly indicated on severe health education being conducted in the rural communities.
High HIV testing rates recorded in rural than urban areas: Survey
By Lerato Ndlovu