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ZAMBIA: Civic groups call on MPs to be more proactive in HIV/AIDS fight

Zambia's civil society groups are targeting parliamentarians, urging them to step up efforts to curb the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Advocacy groups point out that members of parliament (MPs) are in an ideal position to help eradicate stigma and discrimination, as they could influence their constituents.

"Legislators and government policymakers, because of their ultimate responsibility to design and implement HIV/AIDS programmes, are the principle audience for engaging in matters aimed at reducing stigma and discrimination," Lusaka lawyer Patrick Matibini commented during a recent workshop on HIV/AIDS as a governance issue.

Matibini called on legislators to pass laws that protected the rights of HIV-positive people, and advanced effective prevention and care programmes.

Zambia AIDS Law Research and Advocacy Network (ZARAN) board chairman Kaumbu Mwondela questioned government's commitment to the pandemic by pointing to the lack of a comprehensive national AIDS policy, and challenged the authorities to ensure that more financial resources were allocated to HIV/AIDS programmes.

MPs present at the workshop admitted they lacked the knowledge and capacity to ensure that their constituents were sensitised to stigma and discrimination, and noted that there was currently no HIV/AIDS parliamentary committee focusing on issues pertaining to the pandemic.

Theme (s): Other,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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