ZIMBABWE’S First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has stressed the importance of male engagement in health and development as they are left out in some programs while at the same time have minimal participation in the issues.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
She said this at a stakeholder consultation on the strategic framework for engagement of the office of the Frist lady in HIV, Health and Development 2019 to 2023.
The framework comes at a time when Mai Mnangagwa was recently elected as the Vice President of the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) in recognition of her philanthropic work and assistance to the less privileged in Zimbabwe.
The First Lady said there will be a conference where she engages males only in the coming weeks.
“Inasmuch as I said we are going to have a male conference and you will find that most of these issues as the Director in the Ministry of Health said we are leaving out the men and most of the ills are also coming from the men.
“That is why I came up with this program of involving men only without women so that we can see how far we can go,” she said.
She added that traditional leaders will not be left out.
“And in addition to that, amongst those we are going to have are some chiefs. And I will also have a meeting with the chief’s wives so that they take this back to where the jurisdiction of their men, their husbands is,” said Mai Mnangagwa.
Health and Child Care Ministry Curative Services Chief Director Dr Sydney Makarawu said males should not be included as an addendum and should be included when attacking these problems.
“I want to believe that most of the ills you are talking about now have a strong link link with the men or males in our society. You seem to have put them there as an addendum in almost all key areas. I think there should be a stand alone program to address these problems from the males. Because thy cut across all these problems we are talking about now,” he said.
Global Fund and PEPFAR Advisor Jane Kalweo said it was important to engage men as they were not taking up HIV and other health services. She also said males should be involved from a tender age in not perpetuating gender based violence.
Kalweo also said the conference will also include religious leaders.
United Nations Zimbabwe Resident Coordinator Ambassador Bishow Parajuli said the UN family is committed to work in partnership with the First Lady as she will be using her political platform to bring attention on some of the issues affecting the country and the world. He also congratulated the First Lady on the recent election.
The Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo also congratulated her on the top post she attained.