CHIEF Chikanta and his subjects in Kalomo District have launched a leadership declaration to commit to combat HIVAIDS in a comprehensive manner.
The declaration was in line with the chiefdom’s strategic development plan of 2012 to 2016 which has identified 35 key drivers that promote HIV/AIDS in the area.
Chief Chikanta said the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate was increasing in the area because of factors such as practice of sexual cleansing of widows.
He said early marriages and the practice of marrying before going for Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) coupled with polygamy, had increased the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The chief was speaking at the launch of the policy declaration at his palace on Thursday in conjunction with Support to the HIV/AIDS Response (SHAReII) in Zambia, a USAID funded project.
“Families allowing a close relative to perform sexual intercourse with a wife of a relative who is not able to impregnate the wife so that there is promotion of the family generation is another way of spreading HIV/AIDS,” he said.
He said traditional healers discouraging people to continue taking Antiretroviral drugs and instead advancing herbs consumption, was another key driver increasing HIV/AIDS.
In addressing such incidences, he said, the locals had collectively come up with declarations to promote a productive and developed society whose inhabitants would enjoy a high quality life.
He said Chikanta residents had resolved to stop the practice of sexual cleansing.
“As people of Chikanta chiefdom with our traditional leaders, we also resolve that we shall promote awareness on importance and goodness of HIV testing before getting married, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), voluntary medical male circumcision, cervical cancer screening during events such as our chiefdom’s annual traditional Lwiindi ceremony,” he said.
SHAReII Organisational, Development and Policy Manager Charles Hankoma said the people of America were committed to helping improve the lives of Zambians, citing the support in realising the policy declaration of Chief Chikanta and his subjects.
He said SHAReII with funding from USAID would continue to provide capacity building and leadership skills aimed at addressing various challenges that people in rural areas encounter.
times of zambia