Civil societies harmonise plans to fight AIDS in Mozambique

Maputo- Mozambique (PANA) -- Civil society organisations united in the fight agai nst HIV/AIDS in Mozambique have expressed their commitment to contribute to harm o nise all national strategies against the pandemic.
The commitment was given at the end of the first National Civil Society Conferen ce on HIV/AIDS, that ended Monday.
Complaining of being excluded from plans to fight the disease, the civil societi es said they were prepared to join other organisations working in this field and harmonise the national strategies, because it was clear the work indeed needed a multi-sector approach.
According to Alice Ripanga, the chairperson of the Mozambican National Network o f Organisations against AIDS (MONASO), the civil society is also committed to co n tributing to a more effective assessment of the national response to the epidemi c .
'We are committed to establishing effective mechanisms to share good practices i n the fight against HIV/AIDS and to guarantee greater coordination between activ i sts and the media in divulging information among the communities," Ripanga said.
Participants in the conference admitted that negative cultural factors were a co nstraint hindering an effective response to AIDS.
This includes traditional ceremonies to "purify" widows, a euphemism which hides a form of rape.
The widow is "purified" by being obliged to have unprotected sex with a relative of her late husband.
The participants also argued that poverty, illiteracy and a poor capacity to per suade people to change their behaviour were the major factors that contribute to the spread of HIV.
Some of the participants reiterated that their organisations would no longer wor k in an isolated manner, promising "there will be a growing culture of sharing g o od practices and experiences.
" They said strategies were to be designed from the grass-roots upwards, which mea nt starting from people directly affected by the epidemic.
"Therefore, civil society will feel more committed to implement those strategies because they will reflect what people think and feel.
It is civil society that k nows what is happening in the field," claimed Marcelo Kantu, of the Mozambican A s sociation for Family Development (AMODEFA).
The four-day conference was attended by more than 600 people from all provinces across the country and representatives of 10 regional and international organisa t ions, who work in partnership with MONASO.

18 june 2008 19:20:00

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