Celebrating Zim Women Health Champions

AS we celebrate the International Women’s Day, its is only noble and imperative to remember all the women who have sacrificed and are still fighting for the attainment of a globally recognized health system in Zimbabwe.

By Michael Gwarisa

In our Shona culture, there is a saying which goes, “Ipai Munhu Maruva Ake achiri Mupenyu,” loosely translated to mean, “Celebrate other’s achievements while  they are still alive.” Over the years, the health sector has birthed numerous women who have emerged to be forces to reckon owing to their indelible efforts to ensure health becomes a right for all.

To appreciate these efforts, as HealthTimes we have compiled a list of some women whom we believe have contributed tremendously to the development and growth of the health sector in Zimbabwe.

 

  1. Dr Ruth Labode

 

Dr Ruth Labode is the Chairperson for the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health. Over the years, she has been instrumental in fighting for rights for People Living with Hiv (PLHIV) as well as Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for young girls and women including the controversial right to Abortion. Moreso, One can not talk of the newly gazetted Public Health Bill (PHB) without mentioning Dr Labode’s name. She has been loudest voice towards this cause together with the committee she chairs.

 

2. Hon Priscilla Misiharabwi

Honorable Priscilla Misiharabwi is an MDC member of Parliament for Umzingwane. She is an avid human rights defender and has been at the forefront of driving for the realization of dignified menstrual health for all women and  girls following the massive deterioration of health standards and the spike in Menstrual wear prices across the country. She is pushing for the Command Sanitary wear production model which will see local firms mass produce sanitary pads at subsidized rates so that girls would access them for free or very cheap.

 

3. Tariro Makanga Chikumbirike

Tariro Makanga-Chikumbirike is a Journalist by profession is the head of media, marketing and public relations at the Southern African HIV and Aids Information Dissemination Service, Safaids based in Harare. Apart from her busy schedule as a communications person at SafAids, Tariro spends time raising awareness on HIV as well as well as speak hope to people living with HIV through popular program Positive Talk which comes  out on on ZBC tv. Positive talk is now running in Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi and Mozambique with a lot of success.

 

4. Catherine Murombedzi

Cathy as she is affectionately known ,is an HIV activists and one of the few people to have come out in the open that she is living with HIV. She is a Journalist with the Zimpapers stable and has been instrumental in changing perception of HIV through extensively reporting about HIV/AIDS issues. She is a  2010 Auxillia Chimusoro Award winner owing to her vast reportage on HIV issues. 

 

4. Nicola Willis

Nicola Willis is the founder and Director of Africaid’s Zvandiri programme in Zimbabwe. She is a paediatric / adolescent HIV nurse, originally from the UK but left there in 2002 to work in Ghana, South Africa and Kenya, assisting health facilities and communities to establish paediatric and adolescent HIV treatment, care and support services. She has lived and worked in Zimbabwe since 2004, initially at Harare Children’s Hospital then Newlands Clinic where she led the development of its paediatric ART programme. She has written a variety of training curricula over the years and is a member of Newlands Clinic training faculty. However, her true passion lies in the development of innovative, effective community interventions which complement facility –based care in promoting both the health and psychosocial well -being of children, adolescents and young people with HIV.
This is the foundation for the Zvandiri programme which is best known for its unique approach in engaging young people living with HIV at the forefront of services for their peers.

 

5. Hon Auxillia Mnangagwa

She is the First Lady of Zimbabwe and former Member of Parliament for Chirumhanzu, Zibagwe District. She is currently on a nationwide cancer awareness tour where she is encouraging women and men to get screened for cancers and other Non Communicable ailments.

 

6. Tendai Gunda

 

Tendai Gunda is Save the Children Zimbabwe’s Nutrition Manager. Through her organisation, a number of children have benefited from their Integrated nutrition, WASH programs. Marginalised communities like Siakobvu, Binga, Lower Gweru and others have also seen malnutrition declining by a margin owing to save the children’s initiatives.

 

7.  Shylet Sanyanga

Shylet Sanyanga is the Chief Executive Officer for Association of Health Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ).

 

8. Loice Chingandu

 

Loice Chingandu is SafAids’s Executive Director and was last year awarded  the leadership award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to HIV/AIDS response in Africa at the ICASA Conference.

 

These are amongst some of the women doing wonders in the health sector. The list is endless and we appreciate every women for their contribution towards attainment of world class health services in Zimbabwe

 

 

 

 

 

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