Swazis to “March on Washington DC”

Date: 
18 July 2012


Over 40 T-shirts for the “March on Washington DC have been distributed to Swazi participants attending the XIX International AIDS Conference, Dr Nduduzo Dube, Medical Director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation at LaMvelase Help Centre announced on Friday, 13 July 2012.

 

Dr. Dube who is one of the chief organizers of this march from the Swazi delegation said the AIDS Healthcare Foundation-Swaziland known as LaMvelase clinic in Manzini is mobilizing locals to participate in the “March on Washington DC” next Sunday 22 July 2012 before the start of the AIDS Conference.

 

“We are going to form one of the largest groups during this March and the Swazi delegation will be wearing their traditional regalia (Lihiya) and T-shirts bearing HIV/AIDS massages before the start of the conference. The march will be aimed at advocating and appealing to policy makers, diplomats, politicians and lawmakers to keep the promise and keep the funds going on HIV/AIDS initiatives”, said Dr Dube during an interview earlier in July.

 

When quizzed on the motive behind this march, the Doctor explained that Swaziland’s participation in this march offers the Swazi delegation a chance to be the voice of the voiceless; to advocate on behalf of the thousands of people who are either directly or indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS.  In addition, this march will provide a forum to appeal to expedite the implementation of HIV/AIDS oriented policies, laws and initiatives to help advance efforts geared in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  This march is themed as the “Keep the Promise” march.

 

Further, Dr Dube said “Swaziland partakes in this march in pursuit of her covenant to collectively fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. So as a country we want to keep the promise in as far as this in concerned”

 

When asked as to how Swaziland’s response has been on HIV/AIDS initiatives generally, Dr Dube explained that Swaziland has had mixed responses in terms of provision of technical support services. For instance, the country has not been eagerly involved in funding HIV/AIDS initiatives contrary to popular expectations being a country that is ranked to be one of those with a high HIV prevalence rate. For example, the country currently does not have funding for purchasing condoms, a glaring loophole that militates against ongoing efforts to curb HIV. The country has relied on donor funding for the better part and this does not reflect well on Swaziland’s image. We do however; applaud Government initiatives like the establishment of the National Emergency Response Council on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA) to coordinate all HIV/AIDS activities. This is quite commendable as it provides the much needed technical support to the Swazi population in dealing with HIV/AIDS.