April 26, 2018, 1800; B2C Batanai Gardens
- Honorable Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. David Parirenyatwa
- Honorable Miriam R. Chikukwa, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs
- Amon Mpofu, Deputy Chief Executive – National AIDS Council, and other representatives of NAC
- Distinguished PEPFAR partners
- My Embassy and PEPFAR team
- Distinguished journalists
- Ladies and gentlemen
Good evening and thank you for joining me and my PEPFAR Team in recognizing the winners of the 2017 PEPFAR Media Awards Competition. By joining us tonight, I believe we all agree that the media is a critical partner in the work we do.
Two decades ago, HIV was mistakenly considered a guarded secret. People who declared their HIV positive status, were stigmatized and discriminated against. Despite this, one courageous woman, the late Mrs. Auxillia Chimusoro, publicly disclosed her HIV positive status in 1989. Her message was clear- She wanted people to acknowledge that HIV and AIDS could be tackled head on.
There is an inseparable link between Ms. Chimusoro’s disclosure and the reason why we are gathered here today. It was the media that captured Ms. Chimusoro’s story at a time when things were difficult and complicated. It is the media that unpacked and popularized unfamiliar terms such as, disclosure, HIV and AIDS. Because of the continuous coverage and documentation of HIV and AIDS related issues, you have given voice to the voiceless, and that is why we recognize your important work tonight. *round of applause
We recently celebrated Zimbabwe’s 38th Independence Day, a reminder of the commitments we made to the Zimbabwean people on April 18, 1980, which includes working together to promote public health. Our commitment has not changed and we continue to be the largest bilateral donor to Zimbabwe, with $150 million pledged alone this year, under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Working with Zimbabwean partners on the ground, PEPFAR provides testing, counseling, medical male circumcision, and treatment among other HIV/AIDS relief services.
I recently returned from Washington where our team made the case for continued PEPFAR support to Zimbabwe. I’m proud to announce that not only will the United States continue support for orphans and vulnerable children programming, the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) program for adolescent girls and young women, ARV commodity procurements and access to viral load testing, but will also now support cervical cancer screening. This is a direct response to the information received from partners like you on where our support is most needed and would yield the biggest impact.
To the winners of the 2017 PEPFAR Media Awards Competition, congratulations for a job well done! I read your articles and they were outstanding. Your potential is limitless and I am inspired by each and every journalist here tonight. Your commitment to reporting on the issues that affect your communities as well as solutions being implemented by our PEPFAR partners is making a positive impact on Zimbabwe.