UNITED States Presidential Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) celebrated their 15 years in fighting HIV in Zimbabwe in style through unveiling their legacy mural shunning risky sexual morals.
By Kuda Pembere
The commissioning of the mural was done at Glen View 3 Shops in partnership with Jibilika Dance Trust which organized and provided edutainment on Saturday.
Speaking at the event, Center for Disease Control (CDC) branch chief for HIV services in Zimbabwe, Dr Shirish Balachandra said the event coincided with PEPFAR’s 15 years in Zimbabwe.
“Today is very important as we trace PEPFAR’s works as an organisation formed in 2003. Last year we celebrated 15 years of works in Zimbabwe helping people living with HIV. PEPFAR has injected US$1,2 billion over the years to end HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe.
“That said, over 1,1 million people in Zimbabwe are getting Antiretroviral treatment. ART is important for these people and should be taken consistently in one’s lifetime,” he said.
Caligraphed Yeke-Yeke Maya loosely translated No to unsafe sex, the mural was designed by Jibilika dance trust founder Plot Mhako and painted by CaliGraph.
“Our goal is to immortalize the crucial message on HIV prevention and celebrate the achievements of the society in fighting stigma, reducing new infections and for everyone to seek early treatment,” said Mhako in an interview.
The mural speaks much to the youth who are largely infected with the disease.
“We thought a grafitti mural could create that impact. A painting that speaks to the youth on HIV and celebrates the 15 years of improving health service delivery and get to end HIV in Zimbabwe. A cool and colourful visual that can easily communicate to the community and go viral as people take pictures, videos, among other things on it and share,” he said.
PEPFAR has been supporting Jibilika’s edutainment activities for youths in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“We have had a great relationship with PEPFAR for six years which they have consistently supported our work on youth and HIV interventions. What is most encouraging is how they have supported our innovative youth culture in the fight against the scourge.
“We are hopeful for continued support and possibly the creation of more murals in other neighbourhoods and communities for bigger impact,” said Mhako.