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Anuwa? - Part 43

By M'kwanailya wa Mweuta
Watching Immanuel Sheefeni, on national television narrating his 700km walking journey I literally cried just for the thought of thinking howuunhu cando to a person.

This HIV positive honourable brave citizen of Namibia decided to evangelize on the pros and cons of the HIV virus targeting those not yet infected by the virusand decision makers.

In his own words Sheefeni said he walk from Ongwediva to Windhoek mainly to educate fellow citizens on the facts and myths surrounding the HIV virus. Indeed during his journey he preached to the youth, he got lost and his journey raised curiosity to motoristswho stopped him asking him hiscause, for which he eagerly explained. Sheefeniis already infected and one could argue that he has no obligation to educate others but his uunhucharacter forced him to do something.

His campaign was directed to the young, drivers and the authority to allow those able bodied infected citizens not to be discriminated when desired to join the national security forces. He wants to be a living testimony which is exactly those in charge of recruiting need to be convinced with.

Indeed there is a lot to be done in the HIV virus department when it comes to our society. We have all kind of organisations trying to do this and that for those affected and infected. Some are genuine some are just projects benefitting the workers more than the beneficiaries.

As for the security forces institutions, there is no point of denying those infected to join and do little or nothing to your "clean" intakes. Anuwathe reality on the ground especially in the army, half of the clean recruits will eventually end up being infected after their training. One then ask what was the point of refusing to recruit those infected in the first place? Ironically, those infected while in the security forces are not forced to resign because they are not fit. Rightly so, asSheefeni proved, having a virus does not make anybody less functional.

In fact, the right thing these security institutions can do is to employ people living with the virus as they have proved to be responsible and know the danger of re- infection as per their counselling sessions. Most of these people are aware of the danger of alcohol and consume it moderately. The opposite is true to the other camp.

Instead of enforcing rules based on outdated believes and norms formulated before the era of Antivirals, the security forces should look into their employment policies especially when it comes to married couples.

Anuwa the reason why the "clean got dirty" at an alarming rate is because these people are being rotated frequently. This year a person is in Erongo, next year in Omaheke and the other year in Oshana or Zambenzi region. Some are married and theirsuperiors cares less of their social life.

The fight against HIV infection should be a holistic effort demanding creativity and innovations. A person such as Sheefeni and his colleagues with similar minds should be called to give inputs in policies aimed at encouraging the fighting of the virus at various public and private institutions.

Anuwa people living with HIV do not die because of the virus alone but because of the stigma. There are known cases of people who have committed suicide after having been denied to serve in the security forces just because they happened to have tested HIV positive.





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