U.S. to promote art & health at HIFA

By Health Times Reporter

THE United States Embassy has announced that it will continue with its partnership with the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) as a way of promoting arts and health.

The partnership will see the US Embassy providing a platform for its partners to reach out to the public through a feature film, music and health infotainment at the HIFA’s PEPFAR First Street Stage at the junction of First Street and George Silundika Avenue.

In a statement US Embassy public affairs officer     David McGuire said they are excited with the continued partnership as it gives an opportunity to show the showcase art as well as American commitment to the country’s health.

“We are excited to be part of this year’s edition of HIFA. We see the festival as an opportunity to learn more about Zimbabwean art and culture as well as sharing American art forms and our commitment to a healthy Zimbabwe,” he said.

The PEPFAR First Street Stage will provide free shows during the duration of the festival under the theme “Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free.”

In addition, the public will receive health information as well as access services from U.S. Embassy partners supported through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

In Zimbabwe, PEPFAR has committed US$135 million in 2017, and the initiative supports the government of Zimbabwe’s National response to HIV and AIDS by providing high-impact prevention, care, and treatment interventions.

Among the performances at the PEPFAR First Street Stage will be the visiting acapela musical group, Street Corner Symphony. The five member Nashville, Tennessee- based group was established in 2010 and has made their mark on the music world, recording albums and performing around the world, working with major artists including Ben Folds, Alison Krauss, and Take 6’s Claude McKnight.

The feature film, Lucky Specials, will also be part of the HIFA 2017 schedule which brings together local and international and art forms to Harare. The film was produced with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and PEPFAR in partnership with Discovery Learning Alliance, Quizzical Pictures, Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, and Management Sciences for Health (MSH) to produce the film which premiered in Harare on March 9.

In this “edutainment” film, both plot twists and scientific video animations tell individuals what they need to know about TB disease, TB treatment, and TB prevention.  Audiences were enchanted by the music and storyline, and armed with facts to replace myths and misinformation about TB.

The PEPFAR First Street Stage will be the second time the United States is partnering HIFA in infotainment. The 2014 PEPFAR First Street Stage was popular with young people.

PEPFAR partners provided HIV testing and counseling services; conducted blood collection and a donor recruitment and retention exercise; distributed condoms; taught young people how to prevent HIV infection as well as how to access antiretroviral therapy and other crucial information services.

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