An NYDC-registered youth organisation on Wednesday 21st September, 2022 hosted an HIV/AIDS youth dialogue meeting at the University of Zambia (UNZA). The Center for Health Action and Research in Zambia (CHARZ) availed the event as an avenue for young people to identify their responsibilities and also exchange ideas towards the country’s response to HIV/AIDS.
Key stakeholders that attended the event included the National Aids Council (NAC), United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS – Zambia (UNAIDS – Zambia), Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), former Government Minister Prof. Nkandu Luo, renowned Zambian musician Wezi HeartSound, Comedian/Politician Thomas Sipalo (Difikoti) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). It being a youth event, also in attendance were youth delegates, students and community members.
The meeting was officially opened by Dr. Connie Osborne, the NAC Director General, who in her remarks commended CHARZ for hosting the dialogue meeting and underscored that it is high time HIV/AIDS prevention, stigma and control are understood by young people. She also stated that it is important for the youth to participate in HIV/AIDS response programmes. Additionally, Dr. Osborne emphasised the need for adherence to medication for those who are positive and also advised young people to know their status by getting tested regularly. Lastly, she also requested that youth-led organisations should champion and promote the three (03) zeros: 1) Zero Infections, 2) Zero Deaths and, 3) Zero Stigma.
CHARZ Founder and Chairperson, Mr. Pumulo Mutemwa, on the other hand urged all the youth delegates to unite and align their efforts in a coordinated manner towards helping Zambia fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Mr. Mutemwa further iterated the importance of connecting all HIV/AIDS youth advocates with relevant Public and Private Sector Bodies in order to work out the best mechanisms to advance the youth response to HIV/AIDS, as well as general national development and innovation in Zambia.
Building on from this event, CHARZ hopes to promote increased knowledge of the risks associated with HIV/AIDS cases among young people and increased information dissemination supported by research and analysis by different stakeholders. CHARZ equally seeks to strengthen collaboration between youth-led organisations focusing on HIV/AIDS by also advocating for linkages and integration of monitoring and reporting systems.
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