35,566 Cases, Make Zimbabwe One Of The 22 Countries With Highest Tuberculoses (TB ) Burden

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Zimbabwe is one of the 22 countries in the world with the highest burden of tuberculoses (TB), the provincial TB and Leprosy coordinator for Midlands, Bernard Sibanda has said.

35,566 cases of TB of all types were notified in

Addressing people gathered for the Midlands World TB day commemorations in Lower Gweru on Thursday Sibanda said TB was the second leading cause of death and the common cause of death among people living with HIV in Zimbabwe.

He said there was therefore a need for members of the community to assist government in the fight against the scourge through seeking treatment early and maintaining clean environments.

He said in 2012 alone, 8,6 million people became ill with TB around the world.

“Worldwide 1,3 million died of the disease during the same period. Out of those who died, 320,000 were HIV positive,” said Sibanda.

Turning to the Midlands province, Sibanda said the scourge had been found on 3,908 people last year.

He said from January to March this year, 902 cases of TB of all types had also been recorded. In 2015 from January to March alone, 902 cases of TB have been identified so far. As a province about 9,2 percent of our patients died of this disease in 2013,” said Sibanda.

“Ladies and gentlemen our TB statistics in the province also show that above 70 percent of our TB patients are also infected with HIV.”

He said the fight against TB was being derailed by patients who were failing to complete their courses.

Sibanda said because of TB patients who default, the country was now witnessing an upsurge in Drug Resistant TB (DRTB).

He said 35 cases of the 3,908 were DRTB and most such cases were notified in Kwekwe and Gweru.

“As for this year we have had 17 cases of DRTB so far. We also have 70 of the TB patients who are HIV positive”.

Sibanda said the government and its partners like the World Health Organisation made huge investments in addressing the TB and HIV challenges in the country.

“These activities include training health community workers on how to properly manage TB, HIV and drug resistant TB, availing medicines to treat these conditions, providing equipment and other supplies to address the diseases. “The government and its partners have also availed money for other activities to reduce the burden of TB on our people,” he said.

The commemorations were held under the theme, “Reach the missed cases, reach, treat and cure everyone.”

Sibanda said the theme was aimed at involving every member in the community to help health officers identify missed cases and treat them.Source: Chronicle

Legislators Want The Age of Marriage Consent, For Both Genders , Raised From16 To 18 years

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Legislators in Zimbabwe want the age of marriage for both males and females raised from 16 to 18 years. Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana has comes under attack from senators across the political divide over his recent sentiments that children as young as 12 years old could be married if they were idle. MDC-T senator for Midlands, Lilian Timveos, is steering the motion in the Upper House calling on the government to enact and enforce laws that raise the age of marriage to 18 for both girls and boys. If approved this will see parents or guardians who accept lobola from men seeking to marry girls under 18 years face prosecution together with their children’s suitors. Timveos said: “The Marriage Act Chapter 5.11 is unconstitutional because it allows marriage for people below the age of 18.” “Sections 20 and 22 of this Act say, a girl between the age of 16 and 18 can marry with the consent of her mother or father”. “The Customary Marriage Act, Chapter 5.07 is also unconstitutional on the basis that it doesn’t provide for a minimum age of 18 years for marriage.” Zanu-PF senator for Mashonaland Central, Monica Mavhunga, said under the envisaged dispensation, men who marry children under 18 years would be prosecuted. “If a person is engaged in child marriage, one should be given a deterrent punishment,” she said. “All those people who agree to these early child marriages should also be taken as accomplices and be sentenced as well because they are equally guilty.” Chiefs’ representative in the Senate, Chief Musarurwa Chief Musarurwa of Mashonaland East, trashed Tomana’s sentiments, saying anyone who married a 12-year-old girl was a rapist. Age of consent Johannes Tomana. Source: Chronicle

United Nations (UN) Calls For An End To Child Marriages In Zimbabwe.

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The United Nations today adds its voice to ongoing calls to end child marriages in Zimbabwe.

Child marriages are not only an affront to the dignity and well-being of individual girls; they also deprive nations of the social and economic benefits that derive from an educated and skilled female population.

“I call upon all stakeholders to accelerate efforts to end this harmful practice,” Bishow Parajuli, UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe has said. “The notion that girls, some as young as 12, are fair game for marriage should no longer be condoned in this day and age. Child marriages are not only detrimental to the development and wellbeing of these young girls; they also pose a threat to the very wellspring of this country. We must redouble our efforts to reverse this trend.”

Statistics from the 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey show that 24 per cent of girls aged between 15 to 19 years are married or in a union. A recent analysis of the 2012 National Housing and Population Census by the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency shows that the majority of child marriages occur in rural areas, in districts like Chiredzi, Kariba Rural, Makonde, Mbire, Muzarabani, Sanyati, and Shamva, which have a proportion of above 35%. But child marriages are not restricted to rural areas only. The analysis also shows that almost half of all teenagers in Epworth, an urban area, are married.

“On too many occasions, girls who are married have been rendered vulnerable to HIV infection and deprived of their rights to education and to health, particularly their right to look after their sexual and reproductive health” Mr. Parajuli observes.

The United Nations welcomes the Government’s commitment to aligning existing marriage laws with the constitution, which places the minimum age of founding a family at 18.

“We strongly urge the Government to speed up the process of aligning marriage laws,” said Mr. Parajuli. “This will be a necessary and important step towards eliminating child marriages. It will also bring Zimbabwe’s laws in tandem with its commitments to United Nations resolution on Child, Early and Forced Marriage, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the 2015 African Union Common Position on Ending Child Marriage in Africa.”

Noting clear linkages between gender equality, gender based violence and economic growth, UN Women Representative Delphine Serumaga said ensuring the protection of girls and women was a critical human right and economic issue that was directly linked to economic growth and poverty reduction.

“Ending child marriages is not a marginal social or women’s issue only. It has to concern all of us because of its negative impact on social and economic growth,” she said.

Child marriage is a complex and multifaceted challenge which is often driven by economic, social and cultural factors. Combating it requires accelerating successful practices that include supporting community leaders who are proactively coming up with community-driven solutions and addressing the structural causes of child marriage by challenging gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality and equal opportunities for girls and boys.

“These efforts should also be complemented by empowering girls with knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and with the resources to navigate difficult social situations, including coercive relationships,” said UNFPA Representative Cheikh Cisse. “Girls should be encouraged and supported to stay in school but for those who drop out, marriage should not be an option. They should be supported to gain access to skills development,” he said.

UNICEF Representative Reza Hossaini said a quality education that deepens knowledge, promotes a sense of self-worth and expands life skills opens the minds of young people to a world of mutual respect, learning and self-fulfilment.

“Lasting change can be achieved through the provision of quality education to young girls, along with adequate social and legal protection as well as other social services.”

Therefore, let’s work together to end child marriages and all forms of violence against girls. Through the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework, the United Nations remains committed to supporting the Government and people of Zimbabwe in their efforts to end child marriages.

The support from the United Nations includes, but is not limited to, alignment of marriage laws, strengthening the child protection system to track, account and safeguard children from early marriage, social mobilization of communities to address negative social norms, enhancing girls’ retention in schools and access to skills development, and supporting decisive leadership and increased political will at community and national levels.
Source: Stephen Jakes- Source-bulawayo24

‘ The March 2007 Assault By Police, Worsened My Disability’-Elton Mangoma

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, Elton Mangoma, has ruled out any coalition with Joice Mujuru’s People First project, accusing the former vice president of presiding over a system which he said worsened his disability.

Mangoma got polio at a tender age resulting in him being permanently disabled but on Wednesday he claimed his disability worsened in March 2007 when he was assaulted by police following his arrest in Highfields.

“When I was arrested, I was thoroughly beaten up and my knee cap shattered which forced me to undergo a reconstructive surgery.

“If anyone increased my disability it is Zanu PF. You can also understand who the vice president was when I was beaten. How do we work together under such circumstances?” said Mangoma in reference to Mujuru.

Mangoma, who was addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club, said his party has decided to abandon the MDC brand and adopt a new logo and name.

“We have chosen a flying bird as our new logo. The logo simplifies freedom.

“The people from provinces who have been disgruntled with the goings on in the Renewal Team decided on this new logo and name at the party’s launch in June,” said Mangoma.

The former energy minister said his party decided to disown the MDC brand because “it has lost value”.

“There are some people who think the MDC brand still has value.

“Our view is that it no longer has value. If anything, it has got negative value and that is the reason why we are making a clean break away from it,” he said. source-newzimbabwe

Gweru ZESA employee (39), jailed 9 years for raping ( 4) year old daughter

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A ZIMBABWE Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) employee who recently appeared before the court in Gweru on allegations of raping his 4-year-old daughter was on Friday slapped with an effective 9 years in jail.

The man, who cannot be named to protect identity of the child, is 39 years old and lives in Gweru’s Mkoba 6 suburb.

Regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire sentenced him to 12 years but conditionally suspended three years.

Nemadire said the moral blameworthiness of the man was high as he had betrayed the trust society bestowed on him as a father to protect his child.

The court said a deterrent sentence was proper in the circumstances.

Prosecutors said that on February 8 this year the man took his daughter and her little brother from their grandmother’s house in Mkoba 16 to his place of residence.

Upon arrival at the house the kids started playing outside but the girl later on got inside the house.

The man then took his daughter to the bedroom where he removed her undergarments and laid her on his bed before raping her once.

A few hours later the man took the two children back to their grandmother where he told her (grandmother) that he wanted to go back with his daughter since she was not attending school but the girl refused.

When the grandmother wanted to cut her toe nails on the 9th February, the little girl refused saying she would bleed from her privates as happened at her father’s house.

Curious, the grandmother examined the girl and saw reddish marks.

A report was made to the police leading to the arrest of the father source-newzimbabwe

 

Statistics indicate that, one under 16 girl, is raped every 2 hrs in Zimbabwe

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AT least one girl below the age of 16 years is raped every two hours in Zimbabwe, statistics have shown, amid widespread concerns over the escalating numbers of child marriages being recorded throughout the country.

Data obtained from the National Aids Council (Nac) Gender and Workplace department, shows that an average of 392 female juveniles were sexually abused monthly last year, translating to an average of 13 girls having been raped daily.

The data which originated from the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) shows a 30 percent increase in cases of sexual abuse of female juveniles from 2013.

According to the statistics, the most vulnerable age group are girls aged between 11 and 16 years who constitute about 68 percent of the total number of girls abused throughout 2014.

A total 4 714 of girls younger than 16 years were raped in 2014, up from 3 297 recorded in 2013 and 3 168 cases reported in 2012, showing a continued rise in cases of sexual abuse of young girls.

At least 1 319 girls were abused in the first quarter of this year, while Information for the second quarter was not immediately available on the Zimstat website.

Efforts to get the data directly from Zimstat officials were fruitless.

Gender activists contend that the figures could even be higher, as a number of cases go unreported.

They have also raised concern over the high number in child marriages, calling on Government to put in place measures to curb child marriages.

The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (2010-2011) shows that 33 percent of women aged between 20 and 49 were married before reaching 18 years of age, while the Zimbabwe Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey (Mics) of 2014 indicates that girls in rural areas were married before the age of 15 to spouses who were 10 years or more older than them.

Mics also reported that about 24,5 percent girls aged between 15 and 19 were already married or in union, compared to 1,7 percent of boys in that age group.

NAC gender and workplace coordinator Ms Vimbai Mdege expressed sadness at the increase of cases of young girls being sexually abused.

Attributing the high cases of abuse of young girls to a number of factors, Ms Mdege also described as mad, men who sexually abuse young girls.

“There are many factors to girl child abuse which include poverty, early marriages, abuse for ritual purposes, breakdown of social values, misconceptions with some men believing they can avoid HIV by engaging in sex with young girls. But at times I just believe its pure madness on the part of men and the laws are too weak in protecting the girl child,” she said.

Meanwhile, our Midlands correspondent reports a 46-year-old-man from Gokwe has been slapped with a 45-year jail term after he was convicted of raping and infecting his eight-year-old niece with HIV.

The man from Yellow Snake Honey Mine in Kwekwe had pleaded not guilty to raping the minor on three occasions when he appeared before Gokwe-Kwekwe regional magistrate, Mr Amos Mbobo.

He was convicted after a trial and sentenced to 15 years on each count.
Mr Mbobo, however, suspended 10 years on condition of good behaviour.

In passing the sentence, Mr Mbobo said the offender deserved a stiffer penalty considering that the child looked up to him for protection as guardian yet he sexually abused her.

The State’s case as presented by prosecutor Mr Robert Ndlala was that the man raped his niece on three different occasions and deliberately infected her with HIV.

Mr Ndlala told the court that the man was diagnosed of HIV in 2013 and was staying with the complainant while she was going to school.

Mr Ndlala said sometime in December last year on a date unknown to the prosecutor, he sneaked into the complainant’s bedroom and raped her.

The court heard that he used the same method to rape the complainant on two different occasions.

Mr Ndlala said the girl told his wife that her husband was sexually abusing her but she did not take any action and tried to conceal the heinous act.

The court also heard that the matter finally came to light when the girl visited her grandmother and told her that she was raped by her uncle on three occasions.

The matter was reported to the police leading to his arrest.

In recent weeks the country has been seized with debate on child abuse, especially child marriages and the legal age of consent to sex, following Prosecutor General Mr Johannes Tomana’s contentious remarks that girls of 12 years and above could marry if they so desired with some gender activists and legislators calling for the country’s laws to be aligned with the constitution which put the age of consent at 18 while the laws place it at 16 years.

There were also suggestions by some sections that magistrates’ courts had lowered the legal age of consent to 12 years by giving lenient sentences against offenders who would have had sex with girls older than 12 years.

Legal experts, however, explained the legal age scenario.

Constitutional lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku said: “The legal age of consent to sex is 16 years. That is what the law says and the courts can’t change that. Twelve years is the age relevant for the crime of rape. What that means is that if a man has sex with a girl who is below the age of 16 years but above 12 years who would have consented, they face a charge lesser to rape.

“One can even escape conviction if they manage to convince the courts that they had reason to believe that the girl was above 16. However the case is different when it comes to a girl who is below 12. Below 12 consent is disregarded and the crime will be rape. The defence that one might have been misled into believing that the girl was above 16 will not be available in this instance,” he said.

Prof Madhuku’s comments were backed by another constitutional lawyer Professor Welshman Ncube who added that the discretion to determine sentences remained with courts which consider a number of factors such as aggravation and mitigation.
“The description of the crime is determined by the age of the victim. If she is below 12, it is rape whether or not she could have consented, while if she is above 12 and she would have consented it will be an offence lesser than rape and will generally attract a much more softer sentence than rape.

“The duty to determine the length and gravity of sentencing lies with the court. Magistrates arrive at different judgments after considering a lot of factors such as mitigation and aggravation,” he said. Source: sundaynews

Woman testifies on how she lost, sight and got HIV in gang rape by five ‘Zanu-PF’ supporters

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A 40-YEAR-OLD Buhera MDC-T follower has been condemned to living the rest of her life with the dreaded HIV which she contracted during a gang rape by five Zanu-PF supporters on the eve of the bloody presidential run-off election 2008.She was being punished for daring to support “the enemy”.

The lean framed Christine Tinorirashe revealed her life-changing experience in front of hundreds of people, among them fellow political violence victims, who thronged Harare’s Anglican Cathedral, venue for Friday’s UN international day in support of victims of torture.

“I am a mother of two who was raped on 26 June 2008 just before the Presidential run-off election,” said Tinorirashe in Shona.

Now using a pair of glasses after she lost her eyesight was affected during her simultaneous beating, Tinorirashe said she did not mind her real name being known.

She said she had found that speaking freely about the ordeal was another way of relieving herself of the deep frustrations she has taken as a result of the incident.

“I am in deep pain,” she said, “As a result of my rape, I was dumped by my husband together with our two children.

“During that period, it was still frightening to walk into a police station to try and report your rape or assault because you would find yourself arrested instead.

“As a result, I failed to seek help within the recommended 72 hours in which a rape victim can get the necessary assistance to avoid contracting HIV.”

“For someone who now survives with HIV,” she added, “I am no longer able to toil as much as I used to when I enjoyed good health, and as I said, my situation was worsened by my husband walking away from me during my hour of need.”

Evidently touching the hearts of those who listened in dismay as she related her nightmare, Tinorirashe declared she will never allow the wishes of her tormentors to prevail by dumping MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Asi ndiripo ipapo, handisi kubva panonzi MDC T . Veduwe ngatishungurudzwei asi ngatirambe takabatira pamkombero waTsvangarai (I will not leave the MDC-T. Let them terrorise us but we should never leave Morgan Tsvangiai’s party),” she said.

One of many

Tinorirashe is not alone in her ordeal.

Edson Gwenure, from Masvingo’s Zaka area, is among five MDC T followers who were, during the same period, also doused with petrol and torched by suspected state agents who found them manning a party office during the tension filled period.

“Some armed men stormed the office from where we were working and gunned down two of our colleagues point blank,” Gwenure said in a quivering voice.

“They then poured 25 litres of petrol on us and set us alight while inside the office.

“We managed to escape with severe burns and were later assisted by Senator (Misheck) Marava who took us to the Counselling Service Unit where we were assisted in finding medical assistance.”

Gwenure now has a scared face as a result of the burns which also devoured parts of his body.

Likewise, Eva Mushangu, another Masvingo woman, said she has been a constant Zanu-PF victim since the formation of MDC in 1999.

“In 2002, my husband was burnt alive by a mob of Zanu-PF supporters who invaded our home singing and making all sorts of noise,” she said.

“He was seized together with his close friend and taken to a nearby township where he was burnt in full view of everyone.

“I ran to try and seek help from the police but they told me they could not assist me on that one.

“He (husband) left me with a tough burden of fending for our children.”

The widowed Zanu-PF victim said that was not the end of her harsh experiences at the hands of Zanu-PF militants.

“They attacked our home again in 2008 and forced us to seek refuge in the mountains for 15 days.

“I was the only women among men and we were forced to flee to different mountains as they were hot behind us.

“During the time, I did not even know if my children were still alive. I later discovered they had also fled to some of our relatives.” Source: newzimbabwe

‘ 70,000 illegal abortions per year in Zimbabwe, despite the risk of a five-year jail term’

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BULAWAYO: The death of a 15-year-old Zimbabwean schoolgirl during an apparent botched abortion this month has spurred calls for stronger efforts to prevent teenage pregnancies and unsafe terminations.

Health campaigners say the girl’s death in a Bulawayo township highlights the inadequate sexual and antenatal health care available to teenagers, whose parents are reluctant to accept they are sexually active.

School authorities and local media have reported cases ranging from schoolgirls giving birth in school grounds to teenage girls hiding their new-born babies in cupboards.

In Bulawayo, health officials also report a spike in the number of teenage girls seeking post-abortion health care.

Abortion in Zimbabwe is only permitted by law if the pregnancy is a result of rape or there are risks to the mother or the unborn child.

But Bulawayo municipality says in 2013, more than 300 abortion cases were recorded in seven months in its antenatal clinics, with an unspecified number of teenage girls treated for post-abortion trauma, including severe abdominal pain.

The city’s health department officials told the Thomson Reuters Foundation they were still compiling updated statistics for abortion and attempted abortion cases.

“It is no longer a secret that school girls are sexually active and some are aborting,” said Susan Karonga, a secondary school teacher who taught the deceased Bulawayo teenager.

“But what can we [teachers] do?”

In an effort to tackle teenage pregnancies, Education Minister Lazarus Dokora earlier this year rekindled the suggestion that contraceptives should be made available in schools.

The proposal was met with hostility by many parents, and the two sides have failed to reach an agreement.

Concoctions of herbs

Up to 59% of sexually active women in Zimbabwe have access to contraceptives – among the highest levels in sub-Sahara Africa, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

Zimbabwe is aiming to increase this to 68% by 2020, based on commitments made at the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.

But evidence pointing to an increase in abortions among teenagers highlights the difficulties schoolgirls face accessing contraception in the predominantly Christian country where pregnancy out of wedlock is still stigmatised.

Karonga said pupils “dumped by their lovers and abusers” were undergoing unsafe abortions carried out by older women in their neighbourhoods in very dangerous conditions.

“I have heard about wires being inserted in the girls’ privates and pulling out the foetus while others are prescribed concoctions of herbs,” the teacher said.

Medical and aid charities working to reduce Zimbabwe’s maternal mortality rates, which they say are increased by unsafe abortions, have asked parliament to review the country’s abortion laws.

Campaigners say up to 70,000 illegal abortions are carried out annually in Zimbabwe, despite the risk of a five-year jail term.

Marie Stopes International, an NGO that offers free contraception at public clinics, including long-acting and permanent (LAPM) contraceptives, says in 2013, it helped to avert 31 000 unsafe abortions.

“Abortion is real here, some mothers have actually approached me asking if I could help their school-going daughter abort,” said Silabazio Tshili, a midwife at a government hospital. source-newzimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s sangomas (traditional healers’, claim to be entitled to medical aid remittances

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Zimbabwe National Practitioners Association (ZINPA), an organisation which represents the interests of traditional healers, herbalists and faith healers, wants its patients to start using medical aid facilities when seeking their services.ZINPA said they will soon engage the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, over the matter.The association’s president, Friday Chisanyu, said traditional and faith healers were demanding the same recognition accorded to medical practitioners and other modern health care practitioners since they are constitutionally recognised too.

He argued that they were entitled to medical aid remittances just like general medical practitioners.

“The new constitution is very clear that it recognises traditional medicine and we’ve our clients who are coming to consult us with their various ailments but some of them have medical aid cover.

“We now want to meet the Minister of Health, Dr David Parirenyatwa so that our patients can be allowed to use medical aid.

“In these harsh economic times when people have no money it only makes sense that patients use their medical aid and we forward our claims to the respective organisations,” he said.

Chisanyu was speaking on the sidelines of World TB

Day commemorations held in Lower Gweru.

The government has in the past called traditional medical practitioners to come up with guidelines and instruments which will be used by medical insurance players.

Different consultation rates by traditional and faith healers has been cited as one of the reasons which made it difficult to regularise operations as their system was prone to abuse.
Chisanyu said, however, for traditional medical practitioners to be recognised, there is need to stop stigmatisation of people who consult them. He said most business executives dissuaded their employees from consulting such healers.

He said most traditional medicines were clandestinely finding their way into health facilities which was clear testimony that many believe in their practices but the stigmatisation caused people to desist coming out in the open over consulting traditional and faith healers.by Lovemore Zigara. Source: chronicle

photo- Dr David Parirenyatwa
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