Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN) convened key populations with the objective of amplifying civil society voices around the need for domestic health funding, proposing strategies for effective key populations programming and discussing common approaches to advocate for increased key populations’ access to health services.
Tendai Mbengeranwa, the key populations coordinator for National Aids Council (NAC) highlighted some of the opportunities on which the key populations programme is built on. He said Zimbabwe has joined the rest of the world and committed to ending AIDS by 2030 and has also adopted the UNAIDS fast track Targets and Prevention Revitalisation Roadmap.
Mbengeranwa also applauded the Zimbabwe constitution whose section 76 speaks of the right to health for everyone without any form of discrimination. He also commended the national sex work programme currently being run by CeSHHAR at 36 sites.
“Some of the bold steps taken so far for female sex workers include having CeSHHAR offering both clinical and research services at 36 sites nationwide along high ways and hot spots,” he said.
By March 2017 Ceshhar had reached approximately 56000 female sex workers.
According to the NAC coordinator, the programme rides on a strong peer educators’ network. The educators are also members of associations & research components. Services offered include free STI treatment, HIV testing, family planning, mobilisation for prep and art, condoms both male and female, legal advice through partnerships with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). Other partners complimenting CeSHHAR include; SAfAIDS, Katswe, Hands of Hope. Most of these are mainly into advocacy and community mobilisation.
Female sex workers’ movement WAAD has been registered as a trust with support from ZLHR, and has just had their first planning meeting and has documented short and long term plans. Sex worker coalition have done a concept note to scale up martus.
However, Mbengeranwa highlighted limited reporting to NAC, limited alternatives economic option for female sex workers, growing challenge of children selling sex, weak referral systems, weak monitoring and evaluation systems within partners and NAC and weak associations as some of the weaknesses of programming in Zimbabwe.