The introduction of a platform for National Women Living with HIV (WLHIV) was conducted at Usungilo Hall in the Mbeya region, where the Guest of Honour was Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s office Mr. Kasper Mmuya who congratulated NACOPHA for formulating this platform and its diversity of having members from different regions countrywide.
WLHIV was formulated ending of the year 2021 in Dodoma region as the need of having WLHIV due to NACOPHA constitutional requirement. The relevance of this platform is to stand as a catalyst in HIV response in the country where the main objectives of this platform are: to ensure meaningful empowerment and involvement of WLHIV at all levels, end all forms of stigma and discrimination, to fight against gender-based violence that is VAWC and to empower women to participate in National and International fora. The election of WLHIV was also conducted on the same day where Josephine Mtono was elected as a Chairperson of WLHIV while Abiniery Mpendwa the vice-chairperson who are all representatives of all Women Living with HIV in Tanzania from all clusters.
During launching Mr. Kasper Mmuya suggested having members of this platform leadership from Dodoma aimed at making follow-ups of issues in Government and Parliament in Dodoma, and insisted to follow the systems and procedures in communication and implementing the activities of the platform to achieve the planned targets and goals. He further said, the presence of this platform should make sure it reaches the beneficiaries’ goals and needs, therefore the platform should conduct mentorship and coaching to the beneficiaries to attain the set goals. He added that In HIV response the beneficiary’s experience is very key for proper planning and informed decision making.
The platform and the council should continue emphasizing the use of available HIV services and continue informing beneficiaries on the available opportunities like a district council budget of 4% for women so that the beneficiaries can benefit from these opportunities. This platform should properly plan its activities, especially issues of Income Generating Activities and economic empowerment as he has challenged NYP+ to come up with their factory which is managed by this youth network. The government is continuing to support HIV response, by cooperating in HIV response and Gender Based Violence.
He concludes by appreciating NACOPHA and other Development Partners, CSOs, NSA and others for their contribution towards attaining 95-95-95 and hence 0-0-0 goals and stigma reduction.
NACOPHA Chairperson Ms, Leticia Mourice said that not only the WLHIV platform focuses on gender inclusion but also a big role played by a woman in nurturing a family, and the community especially in relation to HIV. She further declared that this platform was also focusing on men as they will not leave men behind in this HIV response. Lastly, she thanked the participants and development partners for their continuing support and promised to work together in HIV response.
Moreover, NACOPHA Chief Executive officer Mr. Deogratious Rutatwa extended the appreciation to PEPFAR, USAID and UN Family for their continued support and TACAIDS for their guidance and coordination to the council. He emphasized that the vision of the council is to have one voice of all People Living with HIV in Tanzania, Therefore, the formulation of this platform was participatory as representatives from all clusters and WLHIV networks agreed on themselves to have this platform. The aim of having a platform is to make sure all WLHIV participates in HIV response with the purpose of providing an enabling environment and strategic platform for WLHIV to take leadership in matters related to their welfare and involving women, girls and children in HIV response.
Some of the participants who participated during the launching of WLHIV from different agencies and partners including TACAIDS, NACOPHA, JUKWAA, PEPRAR representative, UN Women, UNAIDS, UNICEF, NACOPHA Board Members, TAMISEMI, Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDEC), Non-State Actors Representatives, Cluster Representatives, Prime Minister’s Office Representative, Mbeya Region Commissioner Office and ATF Representative.