THE National AIDS Council (NAC), has donated a total 100 bicycles to the Brotha 2 Brotha mentors in Harare Province to strengthen community linkages and health systems with the aim of enhancing access to sexual reproductive health (SRH) for boys.
By Patricia Mashiri
Speaking during the handover ceremony, Honorable Oliver Chidawu, the Harare Minister of State for Provincial Affairs said the programme will expand the current HIV and AIDS response in the province and enhance preparedness to address health emergencies in communities.
Young people are lagging behind as compared to other population groups in terms of HIV knowledge including young men. 610 000 new infections were recorded among youths (154-24 years) and 41% of these were young men according to Zimbabwe Health Survey.
“Most interventions in the current response are targeting adolescent girls and young women for example Determined, Resilient, Empower, AIDS-free, Mentored and Safe and Sista 2 Sista. HIV infection among young women predominantly comes from young men according to ZIMPHIA 2016,” Minister Chidawu said.
Minister Chidawu added that the boys were usually left out in SRH programs and the Brotha 2 Brotha club offers safe, young friendly comprehensive SRHR information which will groom the adolescents boys into responsive men, foster leadership and reduce HIV incidence and gender based violence.
“The programme outcomes include having boys who return to school, boys who stop using drugs, boys who speak against gender based violence and boys who know their status."
Meanwhile, in his acceptance speech Tinotenda Nhete, Brotha 2 Brotha mentor, Epworth District said he was grateful to NAC as the bicycles will help them reach hard to reach areas.
“I want to thank the NAC for this kind gesture as the provision of the bicycles will ease mobility in communities. We will continue with our commitment in the communities around us so that we will reduce gender based violence as well as HIV incidence,” Nheta said.
Obey Mukurira, Programs Officer, Zimbabwe Community Health Intervention(ZICHIRe) urged the Brotha 2 Broth to continue with the great initiative in communities with the provided bicycles.
“Its not easy to maneuver from one corner to another engaging communities. We want to thank NAC for this great initiative to these young men who are doing a great job in the communities. I Know with Brotha 2 Brotha people are going to know their HIV statuses, young girls are going to be supported in the communities because we want to refine these young men so that our communities are going to be better places.
“ As you discharge your duties make sure to also address the drug issue because mental health is very key. We need to make sure that people know the disadvantages of taking drugs. We have been noticing a lot suicide cases rising and it because of the use of drugs which has been on the trend,” Mukurira said.
Brotha to Brotha is a mentorship group for adolescent boys ages 10-24 years, who are usually left out on most SRHR programs. The clubs offer SRHR information through spots centered intervention.