THE National AIDS Council (NAC) has for the third time partnered the Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union (ZLGU) in an effort to sensitize women about the need to seek and utilize services for HIV testing, cervical and other cancers screening as well as COVID-19 screening.
By Patricia Mashiri
In partnership, NAC has sponsored an amount to the tune of USD15,000.00 to the Ladies Golf Tournament which will take place from 27 to 29 August 2021. The tournament will have international teams from South Africa, Botswana,Nambia and Zambia.
Speaking during a press briefing, the guest of honour Mr Sebastian Garikayi, the Acting Director General Sports and Recreation Commission (SRCZ) applauded NAC for a great initiative as it helps the country in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, cancer and more recently the COVID-19.
I want to commend the initiative by NAC to use sport as a platform to raise awareness and promote uptake of health services. We therefore need such initiatives not just for golf but all sports. In this regard, I am appealing for NAC and other related entities to roll out such a concept to all other sports and communities so that all our people can benefit from advantages of participating in sports for health.
“Given the type of sport, scope of health interventions to be offered could be expanded to include voluntary male circumcision, STI screening and treatment, gender based violence awareness services, blood pressure and diabetes screening and treatment, in addition to HIV testing and cancer screening,” Garikayi said.
He added that non-communicable diseases and cancer in particular are becoming major threats to people particularly those living with HIV and those of compromised immunity.
Meanwhile, Dr Bernard Madzima, the Chief Executive Officer for NAC said they saw it fit to continue with the partnership with the Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union in hosting the Ladies Golf Tournament through which they intend to raise awareness about HIV and cancer, in particular cervical cancer which is greatly affecting women.
“Did you know that although the overall HIV prevalence for the 15-49 age group is 11.9%, it is actually 14.72% for women against 9.07% for men? For adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24, the prevalence is 5.15% yet it is 2.86% for men. In addition to this, more women than men die from the AIDS per year. These alarming HIV statistics paint an unwanted narrative if compared together with those of cancer, which is the most common non-communicable disease affecting our people.
“The world now faces an increasing threat of non-communicable diseases including cancer in particular, which kills over 8.8 million people per year. In Zimbabwe alone, over 4000 new cases are reported annually, of which 60% are associated with HIV. Various women, who lack of affordable screening services and early treatment, die of cancer. In most cases, the cancers are diagnosed late when they have already metastasized, and even made worse by the fact that the same person is HIV infected,” Dr Madzima said.
He added that given these challenges and in addition to the already ongoing interventions, the National AIDS Council has agreed to sponsor this tournament to the value of USD15,000.00 so that we could raise awareness.
Mrs Anne Nduku, President of the Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union said they were grateful for NAC’s third sponsorship in a row to the lady golfers.
“National Aids Council’s collaboration with service providers has contributed greatly to the promotion of golf and increased awareness of women’s health issues in the process. All this has been made possible through your partnerships that have provided screening fir breast cancer, Pap smear and general health testing. Women participation in both golf and health matters has increased and touched women from all walks of life.