The Arts Should Be Used As A Vehicle Of Communication On The HIV Theme: Know Your Status3 min read

Written by Tendai Sauta

Several communication modes in the form of verbal communication, non-verbal or interpersonal communication, written communications, formal and informal and/or visual communications have been used to communicate issues regarding health and wellness across several media channels i.e. print or electronic.

When I back cast on fond memories of listening to a wide range of songs such as Shanda (Work), which talks about career choices and being consistent and hardworking; Todii, which talks about living positively and shunning abusive relations; Ngoromera, which begged African Leadership to resort to peaceful conversations as opposed to war; Mhopo, which perfectly fits in to be an emeritus of predicting the Know Your Status Theme, they are all artistic products of the hero Oliver Mutukudzi. The films Neria, Jiti,  Yellow Card, Consequences, More Time, Shanda, among others, communicate on life skills, social behavioural change and encourage health gains as opposed to its loss through multi sexual partners. His establishment of Pakare Paya Arts Centre was an exemplary and positive move towards resilience and empowerment in a country that cries of little social participation in the performance and celebration industries due to lack of relevant and supportive infrastructure. With such a move, the artists continued cry over sustainability of a career in arts was soon to be a thing of the past for the people in Norton. Gone to soon Oliver Mutukudzi. Long Live the National Hero. May your soul rest in eternal peace.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic history now stretches over 30 years, with the first World AIDS Day (WAD) being in 1988. This became the base year for constructing timelines on communication histories on disease treatment and prevention and/or drug histories and far more. In the early years, it included mourning of those lost to the condition, and has turned to a celebration of their lives while keeping the conversation about HIV and AIDS relevant. The 2018 theme for the World AIDS Day which is carried throughout to the next WAD, due on the 1st of December 2019, is know your status. Sulumani Chimbetu, Albert Nyathi and several other artists kept the crowds intact and entertained at the WAD in Glendale.

The know your status theme envisages as launched by Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa in Glendale, Mazowe will aim to achieve World Health Organisation objectives in line with Zimbabwean National Agenda. This national agenda included to urge people to know their HIV infection status through testing, and to access HIV prevention, treatment and care services as well as urge policy-makers to promote a “health for all” agenda for HIV and related health services, such as tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis and noncommunicable diseases. As such, the launch meant to commission an increased social participation in health checks on HIV/AIDS status, voluntary male circumcision, TB screenings, diabetes, prevention from transmission from mother to child and several other ailments. This alone would give Zimbabwe a leverage in pursuit on the 2030 WHO agenda and, in particular, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being for all at all ages and in particular section 3.3 that states that by 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases. The Arts  remain the most effective way of communicating health and wellness messages.