Saturday, January 22, 2022

HIV/AIDS prevalence, incest highest in Ngamiland

Ngamiland District is reportedly the leader in the number of HIV/AIDS prevalence. The shocking revelation was made by Thutego Knudsen of the District Aids Committee who said women and girl children are forefront in numbers as compared to their male counterparts.

She said the district recorded 19.8 percent of infections which is the largest in the whole country. With numbers growing by the day, she said the committee set up some priorities, which were aimed at assisting in the possible reduction of the disease. Among this was the Safe Male Circumcision, which also did not go well as the numbers of people coming was quite unsatisfactory as they could not come anywhere near the forty people per day target they had set.

“Nevertheless in 2012 alone, a good number of women came up for the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission assessments, and we were able to test and provide treatment to the 246 who tested positive. We also recorded an increase in the number of women with sexually transmitted diseases, and just like HIV/AIDS, their numbers still remained higher than that of men,” said Knudsen, “Teenage pregnancy is also a bit of a challenge as we recorded 16 percent as at December 2012 and the numbers keep spiraling. This is a very big concern for us, as a district, and the country at large, which also needs to be seen as a threat to our ailing economy.”

Knudsen called for stern public education “as it has become evident that people have become too reluctant in maintaining good health”.

Her sentiments were echoed by Dineo Mbakile of the District Health Management Team (DHMT), whose main worry was the high number of commercial sex workers, who freely roam the streets of Maun.
She said there is no point in labeling this group of women as ladies of the night as they now operate even in broad day light, and have established temporary sexual relationships with men, most of whom find them flexible and more understanding as compared to their wives back home who either cannot satisfy them sexually or are too lazy to perform in bed.

The other observation she revealed is that even the working class have joined in the business as they have a way of enticing men in exchange of money and sex. She brought up the issue of incest, which she said is very common here, adding that girl children are always at the receiving end, even though their mothers always prefer to turn a deaf ear whenever these incidents are reported to them, preferring to take sides with their partners to save their relationships with perpetrators, something which she said should be discouraged as it is bad practice.

“Now this calls for us women to change our attitude towards our husbands and or spouses because if we deny them their conjugal rights and comfort at home then they’ll always go out and look for it elsewhere, thus making us vulnerable to the disease. Mind you they never even bother to know the status of their temporary partners because all that matters to them is instant thrill,” said Mbakile. “The way we handle them also counts; failure at which, they will start comparing you and preferring to settle for the excitement and love they are showered with outside of their marital homes”.

Added Mbakile: “Maun has become one danger zone which I think is a result of the mix-up of cultures found here. I also feel diverse cultures which still promote arranged marriages have immeasurably contributed to the spread of the disease. People with disabilities are also at risk as they are in most cases sexually abused by the very people who should be taking care of them. We have cases whereby the abuse would have been committed by close relatives and therefore never reported as they always prefer to address them at family level. The other observation is that in most of this area, teenage girls have all the free will as they are in most households given the platform to stay alone in outside rooms where they end up inviting men in to share the freedom. This, therefore, calls for mindset change because otherwise we will always fight this losing battle.”

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