who_aids_logo.gifThe Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN) will tomorrow hold its national bi-annual conference in Masvingo at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel where 200 delegates are expected to attend.

To be held under the theme “Scaling up, owning and sustaining community capacity in HIV prevention, access to treatment, care and support services,” the conference will stress the key role played by communities in responding to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

The conference is also expected to call for scaling up of HIV and AIDS interventions with a special focus on Maternal and Child Health (MCH), Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT), Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (ASHR).

“This conference provides a great opportunity for sharing insights and lessons emerging from the various interventions being implemented by ZAN members in contribution to the national response to HIV and AIDS,” said ZAN National Director Lindiwe Chaza Jangira. 

The conference’s particular emphasis on MCH, PMTCT and ASHR are in line with the government’s special thrust on the elimination of eliminating new HIV infections in children and keeping mothers and children alive. 

Zimbabwe embarked on a campaign to eliminate new infections in children as a new strategic priority as underscored by its commitment at the March regional summit in Nairobi in March 2011. As such, elimination of paediatric infections has become a national, regional and international commitment.

“We hope that the outcome of the conference will empower communities to effectively respond to the epidemic in order to achieve zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” Chaza Jangira said.

The conference will be followed by ZAN Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 24th of November at the same venue.

ZAN is a national membership network comprising of HIV and AIDS service organizations, NGOs and other private sector companies, learning institutions providing MCH, ASRH, Prevention of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT), and HIV and AIDS services among others. 

Founded in 1992, ZAN contributes to the effective response for the epidemic with communities accessing a continuum of comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV and AIDs services for improved maternal health outcomes.